Trade and Geography in the Spread of Islam

32 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2018

See all articles by Stelios Michalopoulos

Stelios Michalopoulos

Brown University - Department of Economics; Brown University

Alireza Naghavi

University of Bologna - Department of Economics

Giovanni Prarolo

University of Bologna; University of Milan - Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano (LdA)

Date Written: December 2018

Abstract

This study explores the historical determinants of the spread of Islam. Motivated by a plethora of historical accounts stressing the role of trade for the adoption of Islam, we construct detailed data on pre‐Islamic trade routes to determine this empirical regularity. Our analysis establishes that proximity to the pre‐600 CE trade network is a robust predictor of today's Muslim adherence across countries and ethnic groups in the Old World. We also show that Islam spread successfully in regions ecologically similar to the birthplace of the religion, the Arabian Peninsula, and discuss various mechanisms that may give rise to the observed pattern.

Suggested Citation

Michalopoulos, Stelios and Naghavi, Alireza and Prarolo, Giovanni, Trade and Geography in the Spread of Islam (December 2018). The Economic Journal, Vol. 128, Issue 616, pp. 3210-3241, 2018, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3298981 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecoj.12557

Stelios Michalopoulos (Contact Author)

Brown University - Department of Economics ( email )

64 Waterman Street
Providence, RI 02912
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/steliosecon/

Brown University ( email )

Box 1860
Providence, RI 02912
United States

Alireza Naghavi

University of Bologna - Department of Economics ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 2
Bologna, 40126
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://alirezanaghavi.altervista.org/

Giovanni Prarolo

University of Bologna ( email )

Piazza Scaravilli 2
Bologna, 40100
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www2.dse.unibo.it/prarolo/

University of Milan - Centro Studi Luca d'Agliano (LdA) ( email )

Via P. Amedeo 34
Milano, Mi 20122
Italy

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