The Persian Gulf is characterized by countries whose economies are built around a valuable natural resource, oil. In political science and international relations theory, countries like this are known as "rentier states": states which derive all or a substantial portion of national revenues from the rent of indigenous resources to external clients. The course uses cases from the Gulf, and particularly Oman, to illustrate both general features of rentier states and the importance of understanding the special dynamics of individual states and regions. The first half of the course will use The Rentier State by Hazem Beblawi (2016) to examine the interrelationships of the economic base with cultural, social and political structures created to manage natural resources. In the second half of the course, cases from Oman will be used to apply the concepts covered in in the first half of the course to labor and employment policy, social policy, foreign direct investment (FDI), and government structure and spending. Students' assessments are based on one in-class exam and two case analysis reports.