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Law, state power, and taxation in Islamic history

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  • Cosgel, Metin
  • Miceli, Thomas
  • Ahmed, Rasha

Abstract

The ruler's power varied greatly in Islamic history over time and space. We explain these variations through a political economy approach to public finance, identifying factors affecting economic power and its constraints. An influential interest group capable of affecting the ruler's power was the legal community ('ulama'). This community could increase the ruler's ability to extract a surplus from the citizenry by conferring legitimacy, thereby lowering the cost of collecting taxes. It could also limit power through legal constraints on taxation. We show how changes in legitimacy and legal constraints affected the economic power of rulers in representative episodes of Islamic history and identify general trends and dynamic processes underlying the relationship between the state and the legal community.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization.

Volume (Year): 71 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (September)
Pages: 704-717

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Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:71:y:2009:i:3:p:704-717

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo

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Keywords: State power Legitimacy Taxation Political economy Islamic Law Legal constraints;

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References

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  1. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1996. "Law and Finance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1768, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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    • Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, . "Law and Finance," Working Paper 19451, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    • La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W., 1998. "Law and Finance," Scholarly Articles 3451310, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. 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.
  3. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Cristian Pop-Eleches & Andrei Shleifer, 2003. "Judicial Checks and Balances," NBER Working Papers 9775, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Barry R. Weingast, 2005. "The Constitutional Dilemma of Economic Liberty," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(3), pages 89-108, Summer.
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  6. Simeon Djankov & Edward L. Glaeser & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2003. "The New Comparative Economics," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2002, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  7. George Tridmas, 2005. "Judges and Taxes: Judicial Review, Judicial Independence and the Size of Government," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 16(1), pages 5-30, 01.
  8. Miceli, Thomas J. & Cosgel, Metin M., 1994. "Reputation and judicial decision-making," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 31-51, January.
  9. 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.
  10. Beck, T.H.L. & Demirgüç-Kunt , A. & Levine, R., 2001. "Legal theories of financial development," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-3125516, Tilburg University.
  11. Leopoldo Fergusson, 2006. "Institutions for Financial Development: What are they and where do they come from?," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(1), pages 27-70, 02.
  12. Cosgel, Metin & Miceli, Thomas J., 2009. "State and religion," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 402-416, September.
  13. Landes, William M & Posner, Richard A, 1976. "Legal Precedent: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 249-307, August.
  14. Martin C. McGuire & Mancur Olson Jr., 1996. "The Economics of Autocracy and Majority Rule: The Invisible Hand and the Use of Force," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 34(1), pages 72-96, March.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. M. Shahid Ebrahim & Seema Makhdoomi & Mustapha Sheikh, 2012. "The Political Economy and the Perennial Underdevelopment of the Muslim World," Working Papers 12011, Bangor Business School, Prifysgol Bangor University (Cymru / Wales).
  2. Metin M. Cosgel & Thomas J. Miceli & Jared Rubin, 2009. "Guns and Books: Legitimacy, Revolt and Technological Change in the Ottoman Empire," Working papers 2009-12, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  3. Rubin, Jared, 2010. "Bills of exchange, interest bans, and impersonal exchange in Islam and Christianity," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 213-227, April.
  4. Niklas Potrafke, 2013. "Policies against Human Trafficking: The Role of Religion and Political Institutions," CESifo Working Paper Series 4278, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Chaudhary, Latika & Rubin, Jared, 2011. "Reading, writing, and religion: Institutions and human capital formation," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 17-33, March.
  6. Metin M. Cosgel & Thomas J. Miceli & Jared Rubin, 2012. "Political Legitimacy and Technology Adoption," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 168(3), pages 339-361, September.

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