Document Type


Publication Date

January 2013

Journal or Book Title

International Studies




Nations that have sought to overcome the resource curse and other barriers to economic growth have for some time sought greater development through a number of strategies: from import substitution in the 1950s to current strategies based on microfinance and human-capabilities approaches. Needless to say, the international community is still searching for the elusive Holy Grail of the optimal development strategy. One strategy that is gaining greater attention and adherents is that of promoting a transition to a knowledge economy. This paper is about one such nation: Saudi Arabia. In analyzing the Kingdom’s quest for a knowledge economy, this article hopes to shed light on the anatomy of the strategy itself, as well as identify important preconditions for and barriers to the strategy’s success. The case study of Saudi Arabia’s quest for a knowledge economy carries important implications and lessons for other nations, especially those with resource economies, that are seeking effective economic plans of economic development and transition.