The Political Economy of Mass Printing: Legitimacy and Technological Change in the Ottoman Empire
AbstractNew technologies have not always been greeted with full enthusiasm. Although the Ottomans were quick to adopt advancements in military technology, they waited almost three centuries to sanction printing in Ottoman Turkish (in Arabic characters). Printing spread relatively rapidly throughout Europe following the invention of the printing press in 1450 despite resistance by interest groups and temporary restrictions in some countries. We explain differential reaction to technology through a political economy approach centered on the legitimizing relationships between rulers and their agents (e.g., military, religious, or secular authorities). The Ottomans regulated the printing press heavily to prevent the loss it would have caused to the ruler’s net revenue by undermining the legitimacy provided by religious authorities. On the other hand, the legitimizing relationship between European religious and political authorities was undermined over a century prior to the invention of the press. European rulers thus had little reason to stop the spread of printing as public policy, nor could the Church have stopped it had it wanted to. The Ottomans eventually sanctioned printing in Arabic script in the eighteenth century after alternative sources of legitimacy emerged.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2010-02.
Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision: Jan 2012
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More information through EDIRC
Technology; Printing; Political Economy; Legitimacy; Ottoman Empire;
Other versions of this item:
- 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, 2009. "Guns and Books: Legitimacy, Revolt and Technological Change in the Ottoman Empire," Working papers 2009-12, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
- D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
- H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
- H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
- N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation
- N7 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services
- O3 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Technological Change; Research and Development; Intellectual Property Rights
- O5 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies
- P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies
- P5 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems
- Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2010-02-13 (All new papers)
- NEP-HIS-2010-02-13 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-POL-2010-02-13 (Positive Political Economics)
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- Metin Cosgel, 2012. "The Political Economy of Law and Economic Development in Islamic History," Working papers 2012-44, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
- 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.
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- Rubin, Jared, 2011. "Printing and Protestants: reforming the economics of the Reformation," MPRA Paper 31267, University Library of Munich, Germany.
- Johnson, Noel D & Koyama, Mark, 2012. "Legal Centralization and the Birth of the Secular State," MPRA Paper 40887, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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