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Efficiency and Continuity in Public Finance: The Ottoman System of Taxation


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  • Metin M. Cosgel

    (University of Connecticut)


Economic historians have recently emphasized the importance of integrating economic and historical approaches in studying institutions. The literature on the Ottoman system of taxation, however, has continued to adopt a primarily historical approach, using ad hoc categories of classification and explaining the system through its continuities with the historical precedent. This paper integrates economic and historical approaches to examine the structure, efficiency, and regional diversity of the tax system. The structure of the system made it possible for the Ottomans to economize on the transaction cost of measuring the tax base. Regional variations resulted from both efficient adaptations and institutional rigidities.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2004-02.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2004
Date of revision: Oct 2004
Publication status: Published in International Journal of Middle East Studies, 2005, 37 (4): 567-86.
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2004-02

Note: This working paper previously circulated under the title "The Economics of Ottoman Taxation"
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Postal: University of Connecticut 341 Mansfield Road, Unit 1063 Storrs, CT 06269-1063
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Cited by:
  1. Tosun, Mehmet Serkan & Yilmaz, Serdar, 2008. "Centralization, Decentralization, and Conflict in the Middle East and North Africa," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4774, The World Bank.


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