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Abstract

Energy pricing reform is necessary to assert the real economic value of natural resources and transition to sustainable development. Be that as it may, they remain difficult-to-implement austerity measures. In many allocation states, low energy prices are part of the implicit social contract, important to domestic industrialization and at the center of political rentierism. This thesis employs a mixed-method approach to investigate the political economy of energy pricing reform. First, we perform qualitative comparative analyses on 37 reform episodes across 18 allocation states between 2000 and 2017 to unravel what configurations of conditions lead to successful short-term pricing reform. Second, a cross-time, within-case comparative study of reforms in Egypt (2014-2017) and Indonesia (2003-2013) is used to examine dynamic stakeholder behavior. Third, we map and investigate the international regime complex by evaluating the regulatory and coordinative potential of its various international institutions. We find that internal governmental coordination is paramount to reform success. We confirm the honeymoon hypothesis and the importance of avoiding protests in more centralized, authoritarian regimes. While compensation measures can divide opposing stakeholder coalitions in the short run, the development of targeted social safety policies is needed to secure reform sustainability in the long term. It is because of the temporal conundrum of short-term costs and long-term benefits that the current regime complex has relatively low regulatory and coordinative potential. This warrants a shift of ground from regulatory efforts to capacity building support.

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