Trade and Geography in the Origins and Spread of Islam
This research examines the economic origins and spread of Islam in the Old World and uncovers two empirical regularities. First, Muslim countries and ethnic groups exhibit highly unequal regional agricultural endowments. Second, Muslim adherence is systematically higher along the pre-Islamic trade routes. We discuss the possible mechanisms that may give rise to the observed pattern and provide a simple theoretical argument that highlights the interplay between an unequal geography and proximity to lucrative trade routes. We argue that these elements exacerbated inequalities across diverse tribal societies producing a conflictual environment that had the potential to disrupt trade flows. Any credible movement attempting to centralize these heterogeneous populations had to offer moral and economic rules addressing the underlying economic inequalities. Islam was such a movement. In line with this conjecture, we utilize anthropological information on precolonial traits of African ethnicities and show that Muslim groups have distinct economic, political, and societal arrangements featuring a subsistence pattern skewed towards animal husbandry, more equitable inheritance rules, and more politically centralized societies with a strong belief in a moralizing God.
|Date of creation:||2012|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: Department of Economics, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912|
References listed on IDEAS
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.:
- Platteau, Jean-Philippe, 2008.
"Religion, politics, and development: Lessons from the lands of Islam,"
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization,
Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 329-351, November.
- Jean-Philippe Platteau, 2008. "Religion, Politics, and Development: Lessons from the Lands of Islam," Working Papers 434, Economic Research Forum, revised 09 Jan 2008.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bro:econwp:2012-12. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Brown Economics Webmaster)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.