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Muslim conquest and institutional formation

Faisal Z. Ahmed

Explorations in Economic History, 2021, vol. 81, issue C

Abstract: Recent studies suggest that Muslim military conquest (632–1100 CE) generated an institutional equilibrium with deleterious long-run political economy effects. This equilibrium was predicated on mamluk institutions: the use of elite slave soldiers (mamluks) and non-hereditary property rights over agricultural lands to compensate them (iqta). This paper evaluates this historical narrative by exploring the accuracy of its initial step. Using a difference-in-differences strategy, I show that conquest changed institutions in conquered territories. I then provide suggestive evidence that the presence and efficacy of mamluk institutions affected this institutional configuration and that leaders survived longer in power during the conquest period.

Keywords: Political economy; Institutions; Historical legacy; Military conquest; Islam (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F54 N15 O10 P16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1016/j.eeh.2021.101400

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