IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Envy and the Islamic Revival: Experimental Evidence from Tunisia


  • Maleke Fourati

    (UNSW Business School)


The Islamic revival defined as the call for a resurgence of Islamic culture by opposition to Western culture and an increase in participation in political Islam, has become a widespread phenomenon in the Muslim world since the 1970s. It is often discussed in the literature as being motivated by psychological factors but with little empirical evidence. In this paper, I test whether envy, defined as a feeling of grievance caused by someone else’s possessions and/or qualities, is causing the Islamic revival. While testing the effect of envy on the Islamic revival is particularly challenging as envy is endogenous to a person’s social state, personal characteristics, and preferences, I exogenously trigger the feeling of envy by a 2 by 2 design experiment conducted in Tunisia. I ran a dictator game with 600 nationally representative Tunisians to test whether participants exposed to envy, which I capture by the interaction between a priming video triggering envy and a low stake, increases participants donation share to a religious charity affiliated with the Tunisian Islamic party, Ennahdha, which represents the Islamic revival. The effect is particularly strong among participants who declare themselves as highly religious. I also test for the external validity of my experimental results and find consistent patterns.

Suggested Citation

  • Maleke Fourati, 2018. "Envy and the Islamic Revival: Experimental Evidence from Tunisia," Working Papers 1235, Economic Research Forum, revised 10 Oct 2018.
  • Handle: RePEc:erg:wpaper:1235

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Botond Kőszegi & Matthew Rabin, 2006. "A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 121(4), pages 1133-1165.
    2. Christine Binzel & Jean†Paul Carvalho, 2017. "Education, Social Mobility and Religious Movements: The Islamic Revival in Egypt," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 127(607), pages 2553-2580, December.
    3. Jean-Paul Carvalho, 2009. "A Theory of the Islamic Revival," Economics Series Working Papers 424, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    4. Roland Bénabou & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2022. "Forbidden Fruits: The Political Economy of Science, Religion, and Growth [Economic Backwardness in Political Perspective]," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 89(4), pages 1785-1832.
    5. Boris Gershman, 2014. "The two sides of envy," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 407-438, December.
    6. repec:adr:anecst:y:2001:i:63-64:p:03 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Daniel J. Zizzo & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001. "Are People Willing to Pay to Reduce Others'Incomes?," Annals of Economics and Statistics, GENES, issue 63-64, pages 39-65.
    8. Binzel, Christine & Carvalho, Jean-Paul, 2013. "Education, Social Mobility and Religious Movements: A Theory of the Islamic Revival in Egypt," IZA Discussion Papers 7259, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. May Elsayyad & Shima’a Hanafy, 2014. "Voting Islamist or voting secular? An empirical analysis of voting outcomes in Egypt’s “Arab Spring”," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(1), pages 109-130, July.
    10. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1998. "Comparison-concave utility and following behaviour in social and economic settings," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 133-155, October.
    11. Zizzo, Daniel John, 2003. "Money burning and rank egalitarianism with random dictators," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 263-266, November.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Vicente, Pedro C. & Vilela, Inês, 2022. "Preventing Islamic radicalization: Experimental evidence on anti-social behavior," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 474-485.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Fourati, Maleke, 2018. "Envy and the Islamic revival: Experimental evidence from Tunisia," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(4), pages 1194-1214.
    2. Fafchamps, Marcel & Kebede, Bereket & Zizzo, Daniel John, 2015. "Keep up with the winners: Experimental evidence on risk taking, asset integration, and peer effects," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 59-79.
    3. Fourati, Maleke & Gratton, Gabriele & Grosjean, Pauline, 2019. "Render unto Caesar: Taxes, charity, and political Islam," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 119(C), pages 114-146.
    4. Zeballos, Eliana, 2015. "Getting a Leg Up or Pulling it Down? Interpersonal Comparisons and Destructive Actions: Experimental Evidence from Bolivia," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 205660, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    5. Boris Gershman, 2014. "The two sides of envy," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 407-438, December.
    6. Jean-Paul Carvalho, 2009. "A Theory of the Islamic Revival," Economics Series Working Papers 424, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    7. Bereket Kebede & Daniel John Zizzo, 2011. "Envy and Agricultural Innovation: An Experimental Case Study from Ethiopia," CSAE Working Paper Series 2011-06, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
    8. Christian Thöni, 2014. "Inequality aversion and antisocial punishment," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 76(4), pages 529-545, April.
    9. Dickinson, David L. & Masclet, David & Peterle, Emmanuel, 2018. "Discrimination as favoritism: The private benefits and social costs of in-group favoritism in an experimental labor market," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 220-236.
    10. Pettit, Harry, 2018. "Selling hope? A review of current youth unemployment initiatives in Cairo," GLO Discussion Paper Series 235, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    11. Yann Bramoullé & Christian Ghiglino, 2022. "Loss Aversion and Conspicuous Consumption in Networks," AMSE Working Papers 2206, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, France.
    12. Gary Charness & David Masclet & Marie Claire Villeval, 2014. "The Dark Side of Competition for Status," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 60(1), pages 38-55, January.
    13. El-Mallakh, Nelly & Maurel, Mathilde & Speciale, Biagio, 2018. "Arab spring protests and women's labor market outcomes: Evidence from the Egyptian revolution," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 656-682.
    14. Andrew E. Clark, 2017. "Happiness, income and poverty," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 64(2), pages 145-158, June.
    15. García-Gallego, Aurora & Georgantzis, Nikolaos & Ruiz-Martos, María J., 2019. "The Heaven Dictator Game: Costless taking or giving," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 82(C).
    16. Astrid Gamba & Elena Manzoni & Luca Stanca, 2017. "Social comparison and risk taking behavior," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 82(2), pages 221-248, February.
    17. Jacobs Martin, 2016. "Accounting for Changing Tastes: Approaches to Explaining Unstable Individual Preferences," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 67(2), pages 121-183, August.
    18. Masclet, David & Montmarquette, Claude & Viennot-Briot, Nathalie, 2019. "Can whistleblower programs reduce tax evasion? Experimental evidence," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 83(C).
    19. Rachel E. Kranton, 2016. "Ekonomia tożsamości w 2016 roku: skąd biorą się podziały i normy społeczne?," Gospodarka Narodowa. The Polish Journal of Economics, Warsaw School of Economics, issue 6, pages 139-146.
    20. Jauernig, Johanna & Uhl, Matthias & Luetge, Christoph, 2016. "Competition-induced punishment of winners and losers: Who is the target?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 13-25.

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:erg:wpaper:1235. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    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 CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Sherine Ghoneim (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.