Events

Taxing Identity: Fiscal Policy and Conversions in Early Islam

  • 5 Feb 2019

    17:00-18:30, Large Lecture Room, Nuffield College

  • Seminar in Economic and Social History   Add to Calendar
Speaker: Mohamed Saleh

Toulouse

This event is part of our Economics and Social History series.

Abstract:  A ruler who does not identify with a social group, whether on religious, ethnic, cultural or socioeconomic grounds, is confronted with a trade-off between taking advantage of the outgroup population's eagerness to maintain its identity and inducing it to "comply" (conversion, quit, exodus or any other way of accommodating the ruler's own identity). This paper first analyzes the ruler's optimal mix of discriminatory and non-discriminatory taxation, both in a static and an evolving environment. The paper then uses novel data sources to test the theory in the context of Egypt's conversion to Islam between 641 and 1200. The evidence is broadly consistent with the theoretical predictions.

The Economics and Social History series for Hilary Term 2018 is convened by Stephen Broadberry and Jakob Schneebacher.

For more information on this or any of the seminars in the series, please contact stephen.broadberry@nuffield.ox.ac.uk.