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An institutional approach to the decline of the Ottoman Empire

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  • Ayse Y. Evrensel
  • Tiffany Minx

Abstract

This paper examines the selected Ottoman institutions during the so-called rise (fourteenth through sixteenth centuries) and identifies the institutional characteristics that may have led to the eventual fall of the Empire in 1918. We propose three criteria based on which the Ottoman institutions are selected. First, there should be nominal accounts of the institution. Second, the institution has to be present during the rise of the Empire. Third, the institution should allow the investigation of whether changes in it led to increased power sharing between the sultan and a larger segment of the society. As a result, the paper identifies three institutions: succession structure, power structure, and the identity of the Ottoman elites and the landownership-military-public finance triangle. Our conclusion is that the weaknesses in the mentioned institutions were fundamental enough to make the Empire vulnerable. Additionally, the examination of these institutions leads to the identification of even more fundamental characteristics of the Ottomans, such as their aversion toward Turkish Muslims and commerce as well as their oblivious attitude toward technological innovations.

Suggested Citation

  • Ayse Y. Evrensel & Tiffany Minx, 2017. "An institutional approach to the decline of the Ottoman Empire," Cogent Economics & Finance, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(1), pages 1380248-138, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:oaefxx:v:5:y:2017:i:1:p:1380248
    DOI: 10.1080/23322039.2017.1380248
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Timur Kuran, 2011. "The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9273, October.
    2. Tamura, Robert, 2002. "Human capital and the switch from agriculture to industry," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 207-242, December.
    3. Balla, Eliana & Johnson, Noel D., 2009. "Fiscal Crisis and Institutional Change in the Ottoman Empire and France," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(3), pages 809-845, September.
    4. Timur Kuran, 2012. "Association Lecture—The Economic Roots of Political Underdevelopment in the Middle East: A Historical Perspective," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 1086-1095, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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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