Robert P. Beschel Jr.

Nonresident Senior Fellow


Robert Beschel is a nonresident senior fellow at the Middle East Council on Global Affairs. He also consults as a senior advisor on governance and public sector management for the World Bank and several leading consulting firms.

Previously, Beschel oversaw the World Bank’s work on Governance and Public Sector Management in MENA. He also served as the global lead for the Center of Government practice within the World Bank; headed the Bank’s Governance and Anticorruption Secretariat; oversaw its public sector anchor unit; and helped to lead the Bank’s work on governance in South Asia.

Beyond the World Bank, Beschel has worked as Director for Policy in the Prime Minister’s Technical and Advisory Office in Kuwait and for the Asian Development Bank, where he was the principal author of their anticorruption strategy.

Beschel has authored and edited multiple books, articles, and publications on public sector reform. His books include Public Sector Reform in the Middle East and North Africa: Lessons of Experience for a Region in Transition (Brookings, 2020); Bringing Government into the 21st Century: The Korean Digital Governance Experience (World Bank, 2016); and Public Financial Management Reform in the Middle East and North Africa: An Overview of Regional Experience (World Bank, 2012).

Other publications include “Beyond the Tax Pledge” (National Affairs, 2022) and “The Middle East and North Africa and COVID-19: Gearing up for the long haul” (Brookings, 2020); and “Policy and Inter-Agency Coordination,” in Improving Public Sector Performance: Crossing the River with Innovation and Coordination (World Bank, 2018).

Research Areas

  • Governance and public sector management
  • Economic development
  • Fiscal policy
  • American foreign policy

Countries of Focus

  • Gulf (GCC)
  • Mashreq
  • United States

Other Areas of Interest

  • Policy and institutional responses to COVID-19
  • Center of government reforms


  • Ph.D., Political Science, Harvard University, 1991
  • M.A., Political Science, Harvard University, 1991
  • M.A., Public Administration, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard, 1983
  • B.A., Economics and English, University of Washington, 1979


Israel routinely withholds PA taxes for purposes of political pressure. But amid the post-October 7 economic crisis in the West Bank, the most recent withholdings could finally lead to the PA’s collapse unless the U.S. intervenes.
Robert P. Beschel Jr., Michael G. Schaeffer
In this interview with Afkār, governance expert Robert P. Beschel Jr. discusses the significance of Kuwait’s April 2024 parliamentary elections.
Robert P. Beschel Jr.
Recent decades have seen Kuwait lag behind its Gulf peers along many economic metrics. Can a new emir and government help it recapture the initiative?
Tarik M. Yousef, Robert P. Beschel Jr.
BRICS has added new members from the Middle East. Can it now live up to its aspirations to reshape global development?
Robert P. Beschel Jr.
In the occupied West Bank, a surge in settler violence is happening in the shadow of the war in Gaza. While the United States has taken some action to pressure Israel to put a stop to it, there is much more it can be doing.
Robert P. Beschel Jr.
As a region, the economies of the Middle East and North Africa sit at the bottom of world rankings on transparency. With this affecting everything from levels of corruption to foreign direct investment and resilience to external shocks, countries in the MENA region would be best served by creating more transparency and sharing accurate information.
Robert P. Beschel Jr., Tarik M. Yousef
Twenty years have passed since the United States invaded Iraq in March 2003, leaving the country and the wider region forever changed. In this Council Views, Middle East Council experts reflect on this seminal moment in the region’s modern history and what has ensued in the two decades since. 
Galip Dalay, Omar H. Rahman, Ranj Alaaldin, Faozi Al-Goidi, Adel Abdel Ghafar, Robert P. Beschel Jr., Tarik M. Yousef, Larbi Sadiki
In 2002, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) produced a remarkable and far-reaching document titled the Arab Human Development Report. Written largely by Arab authors, the report mobilized a wealth of data to argue persuasively that the lack of socio-economic development within the Arab region is the product of three fundamental deficits in freedom, knowledge,… Continue reading Twenty Years of Governance Reform: What’s Next for the MENA Region?
Tarik M. Yousef, Robert P. Beschel Jr.