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Crony Capitalism in the Middle EastBusiness and Politics from Liberalization to the Arab Spring$
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Ishac Diwan, Adeel Malik, and Izak Atiyas

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198799870

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198799870.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 November 2021

Iran’s Commanding Heights

Iran’s Commanding Heights

Privatization and Conglomerate Ownership in the Islamic Republic

(p.363) 14 Iran’s Commanding Heights
Crony Capitalism in the Middle East

Kevan Harris

Oxford University Press

Who owns the commanding heights in the Islamic Republic of Iran? Examining the top 300 firms on the Tehran Stock Exchange, this chapter finds a diverse set of ownership categories existing across economic sectors, associated with public, parastatal, pension, and provincial institutional investors. The main similarity between investors is the form through which ownership took place: the diversified business group. The persistence of the diversified business group is not unique to Iran. Instead, diversified business groups profitably thrive in Turkey and the Gulf emirates, as they do in liberalized economies such as South Korea, Israel, Mexico, and South Africa. As foreign capital comes to Iran, new cleavages will likely appear in the economic commanding heights. Many existing business groups will shrink or change ownership. But the organizational form of the diversified conglomerate will likely persist and remain dominant in Iran’s political economy through the next wave of business restructuring and beyond.

Keywords:   Privatization, state-owned enterprises, conglomerates, Iran, Islamic Republic, business groups

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