Stealing More Is Better? An Economic Analysis of Islamic Law of Theft

27 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2013 Last revised: 24 Sep 2016

See all articles by Moamen Gouda

Moamen Gouda

Graduate School of International and Area Studies (GSIAS), Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS); Marburg Center for Institutional Economics

Date Written: April 22, 2015

Abstract

This study is the first attempt (in the field of Law and Economics) to apply economic analysis to shari’a or Islamic criminal law, in particular, that aspect of the law pertaining to theft. Shari’a imposes two main punishments for theft; hadd, a fixed penalty of amputation of the offender’s right hand under certain conditions and ta’zir, a discretionary punishment, less severe than hadd. From the viewpoint of marginal deterrence and multiplier principles, lesser crimes with low social harm are punished more severely with hadd whereas crimes with high social harm are punished with ta’zir. Moreover, as the probability of detection and sanction is less in those crimes of high social harm, criminals would have more incentive to commit them. Consequently, if Islamic criminal law is to be applied in its current form, crimes of high social cost are likely to become more frequent.

Keywords: Islam, Criminal Law, Economics of Crime, Deterrence, Hadd, Ta'zir, Shari'a, Theft

JEL Classification: K14, Z12, P40, K00

Suggested Citation

Gouda, Moamen, Stealing More Is Better? An Economic Analysis of Islamic Law of Theft (April 22, 2015). European Journal of Law and Economics, August 2016, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 103–128., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2342586 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2342586

Moamen Gouda (Contact Author)

Graduate School of International and Area Studies (GSIAS), Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) ( email )

270 Imun-Dong
Dongdaemun-Gu
Seoul, 130-791
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/moamengoudaecon/

Marburg Center for Institutional Economics ( email )

Universitätsstrasse 24
Marburg, D-35032
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.uni-marburg.de/fb02/macie/index_html?set_language=en

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