Timur Kuran’s Framework and Economic Underdevelopment in the Islamic World
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This essay focuses on what I believe to be some of the most important insights of Timur Kuran’s corpus of writings on the economics of Islam. In Kuran’s first seminal piece on this topic, “Islam and Underdevelopment: An Old Puzzle Revisited” (1997), he lays out the question which has consumed much of his academic life since: “Why has the Islamic world been economically underdeveloped for the past few centuries relative to the West despite being ahead for so long following the spread of Islam?” Kuran has answered this important question in numerous articles and a groundbreaking book (Kuran 2011) by focusing on the pathways through which economic stagnation occurred in the Middle East and North Africa. All of these answers have one common theme, which I believe is the most important insight that Kuran provides: all of the legal, political, and institutional phenomena which have been at the core of underdevelopment in the Islamic world were at one point in history optimal solutions to some economic exigency.
Islamic Economy, Islam, Underdeveloped Countries, Islamic Politics
Economics | Growth and Development | History of Religions of Western Origin
Rubin, J. (2012). Timur Kuran’s framework and economic underdevelopment in the Islamic world. In J. C. Hall (Ed.), The annual proceedings of the wealth and well-being of nations. Beloit, WI: Beloit College.