Saleh, Mohamed (2013) On the Road to Heaven: Taxation, Conversions, and the Coptic-Muslim Socioeconomic Gap in Medieval Egypt. TSE Working Paper, n. 13-428, Toulouse

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Inter-religion socioeconomic differences are often attributed to religion. Instead, I trace the phenomenon in Egypt to self-selection-on-socioeconomic-status during Egypt’s conversion from Coptic Christianity to Islam. Self-selection was driven by a regressive tax-on-religion that was imposed upon the Arab Conquest of Egypt in 641 and lasted until 1856. Using novel data sources, I document that (a) the long-term trends of the tax, conversions, and the Coptic-Muslim occupational differences are consistent with the selection hypothesis, and (b) districts with a higher tax in 641- 1100 had relatively fewer, but differentially better-off, Copts in 1848-1868. I discuss why the initial selection persisted over time.

Item Type: Monograph (Working Paper)
Language: English
Date: August 2013
Place of Publication: Toulouse
Uncontrolled Keywords: Religion, poll tax, persistence, conversion, Middle East
JEL Classification: N35 - Asia including Middle East
O15 - Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
Divisions: TSE-R (Toulouse)
Institution: Université Toulouse 1 Capitole
Site: UT1
Date Deposited: 27 May 2019 08:09
Last Modified: 02 Apr 2021 16:01
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