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A Theory of the Islamic Revival

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  • Jean-Paul Carvalho

Abstract

There has been a dramatic surge in Islamic participation and values since the 1970s. We propose a theory of the contemporary Islamic revival based upon two forms of relative deprivation - envy and unfulfilled aspirations. To analyze these motivations, a behavioral model of religion is developed in which agents have reference-dependent preferences. We demonstrate that raised aspirations, low social mobility, high income inequality and poverty are intimately related, not separate causes of a religious revival. As such, the origins of the Islamic revival are traced to a combination of two developments: (1) a growth reversal which raised aspirations and led subsequently to a decline in social mobility which left aspirations unfulfilled among the educated middle class, (2) increasing income inequality impoverishment of the lower-middle class. The sexual revolution in the West and rapid urbanization in Muslim societies intensified this process of religious revival.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Paul Carvalho, 2009. "A Theory of the Islamic Revival," Economics Series Working Papers 424, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:424
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    File URL: http://www.economics.ox.ac.uk/materials/working_papers/paper424.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Boris Gershman, 2014. "The two sides of envy," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 19(4), pages 407-438, December.
    2. Binzel, Christine, 2011. "Decline in Social Mobility: Unfulfilled Aspirations among Egypt's Educated Youth," IZA Discussion Papers 6139, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Albornoz-Crespo, Facundo & Cabrales, Antonio & Hauk, Esther, 2014. "Which club should I attend, Dad?: Targeted socialization and production," CEPR Discussion Papers 10321, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    4. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2010. "The Economics of Cultural Transmission and Socialization," NBER Working Papers 16512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Nelly EL MALLAKH & Mathilde MAUREL & Biagio SPECIALE, 2014. "Women and political change: Evidence from the Egyptian revolution," Working Papers P116, FERDI.
    6. Sedki Karoui & Romdhane Khemkhem, 2016. "To more understanding the "Halal" market and the Islamic Consumer-Factors affecting the Islamic Purchasing Behavior," International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, Human Resource Management Academic Research Society, International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, vol. 6(8), pages 65-99, August.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Islamic revival; Economics of religion; Endogenous preferences; Reference-dependent preferences; Inequality; Relative deprivation;

    JEL classification:

    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles

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