The Political Economy of Law and Economic Development in Islamic History
AbstractThere appear to be two seemingly contradictory images of law and economic change in the Islamic world. Whereas some scholars have viewed Islamic societies as rigid and incapable of adapting to a changing environment, others have held the opposite image of Islamic societies as flexible, quick to adapt to change, and conducive to economic development. Researchers have often focused on either stagnation or change as being the more representative image that needs explanation, rarely looking to explain why both images coexisted. Using a political economy approach, this paper explains the nuanced flexibility of Islamic law by focusing on the relationship between the ruler and the legal-religious community. This community has been an influential group in Islamic societies because of its power in the interpretation and adjudication of the law and its ability to confer legitimacy on the rulers. Change or stagnation has emerged as the outcome of the strategic interaction between the rulers and legal community, rather than from a fixed characteristic of Islamic societies or an intrinsic quality of a new development.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2012-44.
Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2012
Date of revision:
Note: Previously posted as paper 2007-47 in this series under the title "Stagnation and Change in Islamic History"
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Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/
More information through EDIRC
Islamic law; change; stagnation; technology; legal community; political economy;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
- H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
- H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
- 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-2012-12-22 (All new papers)
- NEP-ARA-2012-12-22 (MENA - Middle East & North Africa)
- NEP-HIS-2012-12-22 (Business, Economic & Financial History)
- NEP-HPE-2012-12-22 (History & Philosophy of Economics)
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.:
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"Guns and Books: Legitimacy, Revolt and Technological Change in the Ottoman Empire,"
2009-12, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
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Journal of Economic Growth,
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