New Paper: Yemen: Developmental Dysfunction and Division in a Crisis State

Yemen is one of the countries in the Middle East currently experiencing profound turbulence. But what opaque internal politics has kept the regime entrenched for the last three decades? Why have its leaders and elites - like those of many other countries - been so ineffective in addressing serious threats to the viability of the state and to the wellbeing of its citizens? 

This original and path-breaking research paper by Sarah Phillips, commissioned by the DLP, offers a detailed political analysis of the inner workings of the Yemen state. Analysing its politics through a framework that explores the relations of complex structures and multiple agents, it offers an explanation of why and how Yemen has reached this point. 

While noting that Yemen is at a ‘critical juncture’ (those moments in history when there is more room for change than usual and where existing path dependent patterns may take a new direction), it also recognises that the calculations and strategies of key actors in Yemen may shift rapidly on the basis of unpredictable and contingent factors. It cautions, too, that deeply patrimonial systems are rarely transformed overnight. 

Download the paper:


Sarah Phillips (2011) "Yemen: Developmental Dysfunction and Division in a Crisis State", The Developmental Leadership Program, Research Paper 14.

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About DLP

The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

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