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The Scale of Entrepreneurship in Middle Eastern History: Inhibitive Roles of Islamic Institutions


  • Timur Kuran


The historical record belies the claim that Islam impeded entrepreneurship by inculcating conformism and fatalism. However, the diametrically opposed view that Islamic institutions are necessarily supportive of entrepreneurship flies in the face of the historical transformations associated with economic modernization. Islamic institutions that served innovators well in the medieval global economy became dysfunctional as the world made the transition from personal to impersonal exchange. The key problem is that Islamic law failed to stimulate the development of organizational forms conducive to pooling and managing resources on a large scale.

Suggested Citation

  • Timur Kuran, 2010. "The Scale of Entrepreneurship in Middle Eastern History: Inhibitive Roles of Islamic Institutions," Working Papers 10-14, Duke University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:duk:dukeec:10-14

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Antonello D'Agostino & Domenico Giannone & Paolo Surico, 2005. "(Un)Predictability and Macroeconomic Stability," Macroeconomics 0510024, EconWPA.
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    Cited by:

    1. Frank R. Gunter, 2013. "The Political Economy of Iraq," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 14293.
    2. Oscar Gelderblom & Abe de Jong & Joost Jonker, 2012. "The Formative Years of the Modern Corporation: The Dutch East India Company VOC, 1602-1623," Working Papers 0036, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.

    More about this item


    Entrepreneurship; Middle East; Islam; development; business history;

    JEL classification:

    • N85 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - Asia including Middle East
    • N25 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Asia including Middle East
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies


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