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Journal of Economic Literature - Book Review

JEL Volume. 50, Issue 1 | leftPrevious Review Next Review right

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Book(s) Reviewed

The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East by Timur Kuran

Published By: Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 978-0-691-14756-7
Date of Publication: 2011


Book Review Detail

Reviewed by: Nelly Hanna of American University in Cairo
Review DOI: 10.1257/jel.50.1.179.r18
Review Pages: 216-18

Book Review Abstract

Nelly Hanna of American University in Cairo reviews "The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East" by Timur Kuran. The EconLit Abstract of the reviewed work begins: Examines the Middle East's transformation from an economically advanced to an economically lagging region and considers whether Islamic law played a role. Discusses the puzzle of the Middle East's economic underdevelopment; analyzing the economic role of Islam; commercial life under Islamic rule; the persistent simplicity of Islamic partnerships; drawbacks of the Islamic inheritance system; the absence of the corporation in Islamic law; barriers to the emergence of a Middle Eastern business corporation; credit markets without banks; the Islamization of non-Muslim economic life; the ascent of the Middle East's religious minorities; origins and fiscal impact of the capitulations; foreign privileges as facilitators of impersonal exchange; the absence of Middle Eastern consuls; and whether Islam inhibited economic development. Kuran is Professor of Economics and Political Science and Gorter Family Professor of Islamic Studies at Duke University. Index.


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Book Review Authors

Nelly Hanna of American University in Cairo


JEL Classifications

K00: Law and Economics: General
N45: Economic History: Government, War, Law, and Regulation: Asia including Middle East
O53: Economywide Country Studies: Asia including Middle East
P40: Other Economic Systems: General
Z12: Cultural Economics: Religion


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