Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Ratio Working Papers,
The Ratio Institute

No 43: Islam and the Institutions of a Free Society: Many Problems, Little Hope

Stefan Voigt
Additional contact information
Stefan Voigt: Economic Policy, Postal: Department of Economics, University of Kassel, Nora-Platiel-Str. 4, D-34127 Kassel, Germany,

Abstract: The rule of law, constitutional democracy, and market economy are taken as the core institutions of free societies. After arguing that shared values heavily influence institutions, it is asked whether Islamic values are conducive to those institutions. The values are ascertained via the economic ethics of Islam as lived today and the attitudes of some Muslim populations via the analysis of a recent opinion poll. Neither the values nor the attitudes of Muslim societies seem particularly supportive of the institutions of a free society.

Keywords: Islam; Values; Culture; New Institutional economics; rule of law; constitutional democracy; market economy

JEL-codes: H11; K10; N45; P51; Z13

36 pages, First version: May 17, 2004. Revised: December 20, 2004.

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