Date of Graduation

8-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Political Science (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Political Science

Advisor

Ka Zeng

Committee Member

Najib Ghadbian

Second Committee Member

Don Kelley

Keywords

Social sciences; Foreign direct investment; Kazakhstan; Oil industry politics; Political development

Abstract

This thesis examines the effects of foreign direct investment on Kazakhstan's political growth. Kazakhstan's transition to a market economy was plagued by corruption, and heavy investment in the oil industry generated resource dependency concerns. The regime later began to exert control over the oil industry through renegotiated contracts and legislative changes. This enriched and empowered the regime. As a result, Kazakhstani presidentm Nursultan Nazarbayev, was able to consolidate control over the state by employing "soft authoritarian" tactics and by rewarding political supporters. The regime was able to employ these tactics because of the wealth that foreign investment created. Thus, control over the investment-friendly oil industry allowed the regime to strengthen its hold over Kazakhstan, limiting opportunities for meaningful political reform.

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