EconStor >
Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM), Mailand >
FEEM Working Papers, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei  >

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:

http://hdl.handle.net/10419/43515
  
Title:Trade and geography in the economic origins of Islam: theory and evidence PDF Logo
Authors:Michalopoulos, Stelios
Naghavi, Alireza
Prarolo, Giovanni
Issue Date:2010
Series/Report no.:Nota di lavoro // Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei: Global challenges 2010,75
Abstract:This research examines the economic origins of Islam and uncovers two empirical regularities. First, Muslim countries, virtual countries and ethnic groups, exhibit highly unequal regional agricultural endowments. Second, Muslim adherence is systematically larger along the pre-Islamic trade routes in the Old World. The theory argues that this particular type of geography (i) determined the economic aspects of the religious doctrine upon which Islam was formed, and (ii) shaped its subsequent economic performance. It suggests that the unequal distribution of land endowments conferred differential gains from trade across regions, fostering predatory behavior from the poorly endowed ones. In such an environment it was mutually beneficial to institute a system of income redistribution. However, a higher propensity to save by the rich would exacerbate wealth inequality rendering redistribution unsustainable, leading to the demise of the Islamic unity. Consequently, income inequality had to remain within limits for Islam to persist. This was instituted via restrictions on physical capital accumulation. Such rules rendered the investments on public goods, through religious endowments, increasingly attractive. As a result, capital accumulation remained low and wealth inequality bounded. Geography and trade shaped the set of economically relevant religious principles of Islam affecting its economic trajectory in the preindustrial world.
Subjects:Religion
Islam
Geography
Physical Capital
Human Capital
Land Inequality
Wealth Inequality
Trade
JEL:O10
O13
O16
O17
O18
F10
Z12
Document Type:Working Paper
Appears in Collections:FEEM Working Papers, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat
640491936.pdf1.86 MBAdobe PDF
No. of Downloads: Counter Stats
Download bibliographical data as: BibTeX
Share on:http://hdl.handle.net/10419/43515

Items in EconStor are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.