Samir AITA: 2008, The political economy of the banking sector in Syria


In Syria, Banking sector reform has been the flagship action announced by the newly plebiscited President Bashar Assad in 2000. More than 7 years later, new private banks have emerged, taking a significant share of the market. This paper put these developments in the context of Syria political economy. First, the literature on the political economy of the banking sector regulation is reviewed, as well as the literature on Syria political economy, to draw a framework for analysis. The political economy of Syria, with a focus on the banking sector is then analyzed in different phases since the effective independence of the country in 1946. Six such phases are identified evolving from state building and national capitalism, towards the Baath radicalization and the emergence of a strong “power system”, ending in the current phase qualified as “neo-liberal”.


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