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A Theory of the Islamic Revival

  • Jean-Paul Carvalho

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.

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Paper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number 424.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2009
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Handle: RePEc:oxf:wpaper:424
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