IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/tse/wpaper/27573.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

On the Road to Heaven: Taxation, Conversions, and the Coptic-Muslim Socioeconomic Gap in Medieval Egypt

Author

Listed:
  • Saleh, Mohamed

Abstract

Inter-religion socioeconomic differences are often attributed to religion. Instead, I trace the phenomenon in Egypt to self-selection-on-socioeconomic-status during Egypt’s conversion from Coptic Christianity to Islam. Self-selection was driven by a regressive tax-on-religion that was imposed upon the Arab Conquest of Egypt in 641 and lasted until 1856. Using novel data sources, I document that (a) the long-term trends of the tax, conversions, and the Coptic-Muslim occupational differences are consistent with the selection hypothesis, and (b) districts with a higher tax in 641- 1100 had relatively fewer, but differentially better-off, Copts in 1848-1868. I discuss why the initial selection persisted over time.

Suggested Citation

  • Saleh, Mohamed, 2013. "On the Road to Heaven: Taxation, Conversions, and the Coptic-Muslim Socioeconomic Gap in Medieval Egypt," TSE Working Papers 13-428, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Nov 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:27573
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Sascha O. Becker & Ludger Woessmann, 2009. "Was Weber Wrong? A Human Capital Theory of Protestant Economic History," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 531-596.
    2. Timo Boppart & Josef Falkinger & Volker Grossmann & Ulrich Woitek & Gabriela W�thrich, 2008. "Qualifying Religion: The Role of Plural Identities for Educational Production," IEW - Working Papers 360, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    3. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Cantoni & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2011. "The Consequences of Radical Reform: The French Revolution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3286-3307, December.
    4. Robert J. Barro & Rachel M. McCleary, 2005. "Which Countries Have State Religions?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1331-1370.
    5. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2008. "Persistence of Power, Elites, and Institutions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(1), pages 267-293, March.
    6. Botticini, Maristella & Eckstein, Zvi, 2005. "Jewish Occupational Selection: Education, Restrictions, or Minorities?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(4), pages 922-948, December.
    7. Saleh, Mohamed, 2012. "The Reluctant Transformation: Modernization, Religion, and Human Capital in Nineteenth Century Egypt," IAST Working Papers 12-05, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST).
    8. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2003. "People's opium? Religion and economic attitudes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 225-282, January.
    9. Nathan Nunn, 2008. "The Long-term Effects of Africa's Slave Trades," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(1), pages 139-176.
    10. Timur Kuran, 2004. "The Economic Ascent of the Middle East’s Religious Minorities: The Role of Islamic Legal Pluralism," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(2), pages 475-515, June.
    11. Chaudhary, Latika & Rubin, Jared, 2011. "Reading, writing, and religion: Institutions and human capital formation," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 17-33, March.
    12. Melissa Dell, 2010. "The Persistent Effects of Peru's Mining Mita," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(6), pages 1863-1903, November.
    13. Rachel M. McCleary & Robert J. Barro, 2006. "Religion and Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 49-72, Spring.
    14. Vani Borooah & Sriya Iyer, 2005. "Vidya, Veda, and Varna: The influence of religion and caste on education in rural India," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(8), pages 1369-1404.
    15. ., 2006. "Religion and Development," Chapters, in: David Alexander Clark (ed.), The Elgar Companion to Development Studies, chapter 102, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Converting for tax reasons
      by Chris Colvin in NEP-HIS blog on 2013-11-06 02:41:31

    Citations

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


    Cited by:

    1. Joslin, Knut-Eric & Nordvik, Frode Martin, 2021. "Does religion curtail women during booms? Evidence from resource discoveries," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 187(C), pages 205-224.
    2. Alberto Bisin & Jared Rubin & Avner Seror & Thierry Verdier, 2021. "Culture, Institutions & the Long Divergence," NBER Working Papers 28488, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Mohamed Saleh & Jean Tirole, 2021. "Taxing Identity: Theory and Evidence From Early Islam," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 89(4), pages 1881-1919, July.
    4. Sascha O. Becker & Jared Rubin & Ludger Woessmann, 2020. "Religion in Economic History: A Survey," CESifo Working Paper Series 8365, CESifo.
    5. Saleh, Mohamed & Tirole, Jean, 2019. "Taxing Identity: Theory and Evidence from Early Islam," CEPR Discussion Papers 13705, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Robert C. Allen & Leander Heldring, 2022. "The Collapse of Civilization in Southern Mesopotamia," Cliometrica, Springer;Cliometric Society (Association Francaise de Cliométrie), vol. 16(2), pages 369-404, May.
    7. Domenico Rossignoli & Federico Trombetta, 2022. "Ora et Guberna. The Economic Impact of the Rule of St. Benedict in Medieval England," DISEIS - Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia internazionale, delle istituzioni e dello sviluppo dis2206, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimento di Economia internazionale, delle istituzioni e dello sviluppo (DISEIS).

    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. Saleh, Mohamed, 2013. "On the Road to Heaven: Self-Selection, Religion, and Socio-Economic Status," IAST Working Papers 13-04, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST), revised Dec 2015.
    2. Pierre-Guillaume Méon & Ilan Tojerow, 2016. "In God We Learn? Religions’ Universal Messages, Context-Specific Effects, and Minority Status," Working Papers CEB 2013/233535, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    3. Méon, Pierre-Guillaume & Tojerow, Ilan, 2019. "The minority ethic: Rethinking religious denominations, minority status, and educational achievement across the globe," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 196-214.
    4. Calvi, Rossella & Mantovanelli, Federico G., 2018. "Long-term effects of access to health care: Medical missions in colonial India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 285-303.
    5. Pierre-Guillaume Méon & Ilan Tojerow, 2018. "In God We Learn? The Universal Messages of Religions, their Context-Specific Effects, and the role of Minority Status," Working Papers CEB 16-036, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    6. Sriya Iyer, 2016. "The New Economics of Religion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(2), pages 395-441, June.
    7. Nunn, Nathan, 2014. "Historical Development," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 7, pages 347-402, Elsevier.
    8. Spenkuch, Jörg L., 2010. "The Protestant Ethic and Work: Micro Evidence from Contemporary Germany," MPRA Paper 26444, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Janine Höhener & Christoph A. Schaltegger, 2012. "Religionsökonomie: eine Übersicht," CREMA Working Paper Series 2012-08, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    10. Baele, Lieven & Farooq, Moazzam & Ongena, Steven, 2014. "Of religion and redemption: Evidence from default on Islamic loans," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 141-159.
    11. Remi Jedwab & Felix Meier zu Selhausen & Alexander Moradi, 2022. "The economics of missionary expansion: evidence from Africa and implications for development," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 27(2), pages 149-192, June.
    12. Arye L. Hillman & Niklas Potrafke, 2018. "Economic Freedom and Religion," Public Finance Review, , vol. 46(2), pages 249-275, March.
    13. Vidal-Robert, Jordi, 2014. "Long-run effects of the Spanish Inquisition," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 192, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    14. Iyigun, Murat, 2007. "Monotheism (From a Sociopolitical and Economic Perspective)," IZA Discussion Papers 3116, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    15. Jeremiah Dittmar & Skipper Seabold, 2015. "Media, Markets and Institutional Change: Evidence from the Protestant Reformation," CEP Discussion Papers dp1367, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    16. Spenkuch, Jörg L., 2017. "Religion and work: Micro evidence from contemporary Germany," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 193-214.
    17. Èric Gómez-i-Aznar, 2020. "Ad maiorem Dei gloriam. Numeracy levels in the Guarani Jesuit missions," Working Papers 0181, European Historical Economics Society (EHES).
    18. Dittmar, Jeremiah & Seabold, Skipper, 2015. "Media, markets and institutional change: evidence from the Protestant Reformation," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 63814, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    19. Hornung, Erik & Schwerdt, Guido & Strazzeri, Maurizio, 2021. "Religious practice and student performance: Evidence from Ramadan fasting," Working Papers 06, University of Konstanz, Cluster of Excellence "The Politics of Inequality. Perceptions, Participation and Policies".
    20. Chen, Yuyu & Wang, Hui & Yan, Se, 2022. "The long-term effects of Protestant activities in China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 394-414.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Religion; poll tax; persistence; conversion; Middle East;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • N35 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Asia including Middle East
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:tse:wpaper:27573. 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: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/tsetofr.html .

    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: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/tsetofr.html .

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

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.