The Rule of Law and Constitutionalism in Muslim Countries
38 Pages Posted: 10 May 2014 Last revised: 3 Nov 2016
Date Written: May 8, 2014
Recently, several Muslim countries have passed new constitutions. In this paper, we ask two questions: first, whether Muslim influence has a discernible impact on the content of such constitutions and, second, whether it has an impact on constitutional reality. More precisely, we are interested in the consequences of Islam for institutions securing the rule of law, while taking competing socioeconomic, geographic, and historical explanations explicitly into account. To this end, we construct a new Islamic State Index to measure the influence Islam has on a society and its political and legal system. We find that Muslim influence is in conflict with the independence of the judiciary and nondiscriminatory legal institutions with respect to gender and religion. Yet, parliamentary power and the protection of property rights are not significantly more constrained in Islamic states after we control for alternative explanations.
Keywords: Islam, Islamic State Index, Sharia, Rule of Law, Constitutionalism, Endogenous Constitutions, Muslim Countries, Judicial Independence, Women’s Rights, Resource Curse
JEL Classification: B41, C81/82, H11, K00, O17, O43, O57
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation