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Law, State Power, and Taxation in Islamic History

Author

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  • Metin Cosgel

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Rasha Ahmed

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Thomas Miceli

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

The ruler's power varied greatly in Islamic history over time and space. We explain these variations with a political economy approach to public finance, identifying factors affecting economic power and its constraints. An influential interest group capable of affecting the ruler's power was the legal community ('ulama'). This community could increase the ruler's ability to extract a surplus from the citizenry by conferring legitimacy, thereby lowering the cost of tax-collection. It could also limit power through legal constraints on taxation. We show how changes in legitimacy and legal constraints affected the economic power of rulers in representative episodes of Islamic history and identify general trends and dynamic processes underlying the relationship between the state and the legal community.

Suggested Citation

  • Metin Cosgel & Rasha Ahmed & Thomas Miceli, 2007. "Law, State Power, and Taxation in Islamic History," Working papers 2007-01, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2007-01
    Note: We thank Barclay Rosser, Timur Kuran, and two anonymous referees for detailed comments and suggestions on an earlier version of this paper presented at the Economic Research on Civilizations Conference on "The Economic Performance of Civilizations: Roles of Culture, Religion, and the Law," held at the University of Southern California in February, 2007. We have also received useful comments from other participants at the IERC conference and participants at the 2007 Economic History Association meetings in Austin, TX, and in seminars at UConn, Wesleyan, and Yale. We are grateful to Templeton/Metanexus Institute for financial support received through the IERC.
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Metin M. Cosgel & Thomas J. Miceli & Jared Rubin, 2012. "Political Legitimacy and Technology Adoption," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 168(3), pages 339-361, September.
    2. Niklas Potrafke, 2016. "Policies against human trafficking: the role of religion and political institutions," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 17(4), pages 353-386, November.
    3. Coşgel, Metin M. & Miceli, Thomas J. & Rubin, Jared, 2012. "The political economy of mass printing: Legitimacy and technological change in the Ottoman Empire," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 357-371.
    4. repec:eee:exehis:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:1-20 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. 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.
    6. Rubin, Jared, 2010. "Bills of exchange, interest bans, and impersonal exchange in Islam and Christianity," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 213-227, April.
    7. M. Shahid Ebrahim & Seema Makhdoomi & Mustapha Sheikh, 2012. "The Political Economy and the Perennial Underdevelopment of the Muslim World," Working Papers 12011, Bangor Business School, Prifysgol Bangor University (Cymru / Wales).
    8. Timur Kuran & Scott Lustig, 2012. "Judicial Biases in Ottoman Istanbul: Islamic Justice and Its Compatibility with Modern Economic Life," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(3), pages 631-666.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    state power; legitimacy; taxation; political economy; Islamic Law; legal constraints;

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • K34 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Tax Law
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies

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