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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Cosgel, Metin & Miceli, Thomas & Ahmed, Rasha, 2009. "Law, state power, and taxation in Islamic history," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 704-717, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:71:y:2009:i:3:p:704-717
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    Cited by:

    1. Chen, Shuo & Fan, Xinyu, 2021. "Warcraft: The legitimacy building of usurpers," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 184(C), pages 409-431.
    2. Niklas Potrafke, 2016. "Policies against human trafficking: the role of religion and political institutions," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 353-386, November.
    3. 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.
    4. Alberto Bisin & Jared Rubin & Avner Seror & Thierry Verdier, 2021. "Culture, Institutions & the Long Divergence," Working Papers 21-04, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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).
    9. Timur Kuran & Scott Lustig, 2012. "Judicial Biases in Ottoman Istanbul: Islamic Justice and Its Compatibility with Modern Economic Life," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(3), pages 631-666.
    10. Johnson, Noel D. & Koyama, Mark, 2017. "States and economic growth: Capacity and constraints," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 1-20.
    11. Coşgel, Metin & Miceli, Thomas J., 2018. "The price of redemption: Sin, penance, and marginal deterrence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 156(C), pages 206-218.
    12. Yasin Arslantaş & Antoine Pietri & Mehrdad Vahabi, 2020. "State predation in historical perspective: the case of Ottoman müsadere practice during 1695–1839," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 182(3), pages 417-442, March.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    State power Legitimacy Taxation Political economy Islamic Law Legal constraints;

    JEL classification:

    • K3 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue

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