Religion, politics, and development: Lessons from the lands of Islam
AbstractThe question as to whether religion can block economic development and institutional change, or is a purely endogenous factor, assumes particular importance today because of the rise of Islamist movements and the disappointing economic performances in the lands of Islam. This paper starts from a critical examination of the thesis of Bernard Lewis according to which the lack of separation between religion and politics creates particular difficulties on the way to modern economic growth in these lands. It will be argued that (1) Lewis' thesis conceals the critical fact that, even when political and religious functions appear to be merged, religion is the handmaiden rather than the master of politics; (2) the influence of religion increases when the state falls into crisis, owing to its impotence or excessive absolutism; (3) because the Islamic frame of reference provides political rulers with a cheap default option when they are contested, they rarely undertake the much-needed reforms of the country's institutions; (4) this way of escape is all the more attractive to contested rulers as Islamist movements, born of the internal situation as well as of the international environment, accuse them of un-Islamic behaviour; (5) as argued by Timur Kuran, by creating an "institutional trap", the legacy of the Islamic classical system also makes institutional reforms more difficult to achieve.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.
Volume (Year): 68 (2008)
Issue (Month): 2 (November)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo
Culture Religion Islam Christianity Middle East Political economics;
Other versions of this item:
- Jean-Philippe Platteau, 2008. "Religion, Politics, and Development: Lessons from the Lands of Islam," Working Papers 434, Economic Research Forum, revised Sep 2008.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- North, Douglass C. & Weingast, Barry R., 1989. "Constitutions and Commitment: The Evolution of Institutions Governing Public Choice in Seventeenth-Century England," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(04), pages 803-832, December.
- Kuran, Timur, 2005. "The logic of financial westernization in the Middle East," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 56(4), pages 593-615, April.
- Douglass C. North, 2005.
"Introduction to Understanding the Process of Economic Change
[Understanding the Process of Economic Change]," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
- Noland Marcus, 2008. "Explaining Middle Eastern Political Authoritarianism I: The Level of Democracy," Review of Middle East Economics and Finance, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-30, January.
- repec:cup:cbooks:9780521855266 is not listed on IDEAS
- Noland, Marcus, 2005. "Religion and economic performance," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(8), pages 1215-1232, August.
- Timur Kuran, 2004. "Why the Middle East is Economically Underdeveloped: Historical Mechanisms of Institutional Stagnation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(3), pages 71-90, Summer.
- Timur Kuran, 1997. "Islam and Underdevelopment: An Old Puzzle Revisited," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 153(1), pages 41-, March.
- Kuran, Timur, 2003. "The Islamic Commercial Crisis: Institutional Roots of Economic Underdevelopment in the Middle East," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 63(02), pages 414-446, June.
- McCleary, Rachel & Barro, Robert, 2003. "Religion and Economic Growth across Countries," Scholarly Articles 3708464, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- La Porta, Rafael, et al, 1997.
"Trust in Large Organizations,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 87(2), pages 333-38, May.
- Badawi, Ibrahim El & Makdisi, Samir, 2007. "Explaining the democracy deficit in the Arab world," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 46(5), pages 813-831, February.
- S. Michalopoulos & A. Naghavi & G. Prarolo, 2010.
"Trade and Geography in the Economic Origins of Islam: Theory and Evidence,"
700, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
- Stelios Michalopoulos & Alireza Naghavi & Giovanni Prarolo, . "Trade and Geography in the Economic Origins of Islam: Theory and Evidence," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0750, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
- Stelios Michalopoulos & Alireza Naghavi & Giovanni Prarolo, 2010. "Trade and Geography in the Economic Origins of Islam: Theory and Evidence," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 145, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
- Stelios Michalopoulos & Alireza Naghavi & Giovanni Prarolo, 2010. "Trade and Geography in the Economic Origins of Islam: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 2010.75, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
- Stelios Michalopoulos & Alireza Naghavi & Giovanni Prarolo, 2010. "Trade and geography in the economic origins of Islam: theory and evidence," Center for Economic Research (RECent) 046, University of Modena and Reggio E., Dept. of Economics.
- Michalopoulos, Stelios & Naghavi, Alireza & Prarolo, Giovanni, 2010. "Trade and Geography in the Economic Origins of Islam: Theory and Evidence," MPRA Paper 23136, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Metin M. Cosgel & Thomas J. Miceli & Jared Rubin, 2009.
"Guns and Books: Legitimacy, Revolt and Technological Change in the Ottoman Empire,"
2009-12, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
- Coşgel, Metin M. & Miceli, Thomas J. & Rubin, Jared, 2012. "The political economy of mass printing: Legitimacy and technological change in the Ottoman Empire," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 357-371.
- Metin M. Cosgel & Thomas J. Miceli & Jared Rubin, 2010. "The Political Economy of Mass Printing: Legitimacy and Technological Change in the Ottoman Empire," Working papers 2010-02, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2012.
- Binzel, Christine & Carvalho, Jean-Paul, 2013. "Education, Social Mobility and Religious Movements: A Theory of the Islamic Revival in Egypt," IZA Discussion Papers 7259, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Chaara, Imane, 2011. "Pro-Women Legal Reform in Morocco: Is Religion an Obstacle?," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Berlin 2011 17, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
- Stelios Michalopoulos & Alireza Naghavi & Giovanni Prarolo, 2012.
"Trade and Geography in the Origins and Spread of Islam,"
2012-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
- Stelios Michalopoulos & Alireza Naghavi & Giovanni Prarolo, 2012. "Trade and Geography in the Origins and Spread of Islam," NBER Working Papers 18438, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Platteau, Jean-Phillipe & Sekeris, Petros G., 2013. "Seduction of Religious Clerics and Violence in Autocratic Regimes - with special emphasis on Islam," NEPS Working Papers 3/2013, Network of European Peace Scientists.
- Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 2009. "Institutional obstacles to African economic development: State, ethnicity, and custom," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 669-689, September.
- Wasseem Mina, 2014. "But Most of All We Love Each Other: Does Social Cohesion Pay off? Evidence from FDI Flows to Middle Income Countries," International Center for Public Policy Working Paper Series, at AYSPS, GSU paper1424, International Center for Public Policy, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
- Ciaian, Pavel & Pokrivčák, Ján & Kancs, D'Artis, 2012.
"The Rise and Fall of Enforcement Institutions: An Example of Religion and Secularism,"
Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(02), pages 233-251, May.
- Pavel Ciaian & Jan Pokrivcak & d'Artis Kancs, 2011. "The Rise and Fall of Enforcement Institutions: An Example of Religion and Secularism," EERI Research Paper Series EERI_RP_2011_14, Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels.
- Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 2011. "Political Instrumentalization of Islam and the Risk of Obscurantist Deadlock," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 243-260, February.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.