While consumers in the United States and Europe are cheering low prices at the pump, a variety of states that depend on oil revenue are expecting a period of uncertain income and budget shortfalls. Unfortunately, rather than encourage reform in these typically corrupt and authoritarian countries, the pressure of low oil prices is likely to result in increased instability. Oil has halved in price in the last six months, dropping to just under $50 per barrel. This plunge is driven by contracting global demand as well as efforts by Saudi Arabia to curtail growing oil production by the United States, Russia and other nonmembers of OPEC. The death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah is unlikely to alter this situation, as newly crowned King Salman has been careful to emphasize continuity with his predecessor’s policies. As a result, oil prices should remain low for a while. Though oil was less […]