Islamic institutions, the status of women, and economic growth
Glover, Michael Emanuel
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Within the sample of Muslim-majority countries, the links between how explicitly "Islamic" a society is, the status of women, and economic and other societal outcomes is explored. A country is considered more or less "Islamic" depending upon if Islam is the official state religion, if Islamic law forms a basis for the legal system, and the degree to which the country has rejected or maintained traditional Islamic norms such as regarding the acceptance of polygamy and the legal obligation of women to wear the veil in public. It is found that if a country is more "Islamic," it tends to also have worse outcomes along different dimensions, such as degree of authoritarianism and absence of women's rights. However, focusing exclusively on whether the country has Islamic law as a basis of the legal system, these countries tend to be richer. An extremity index is composed, which contains only variables which describe the status of women in Muslim countries, along educational and legal dimensions. It is found in regressions that this extremity index is a statistically significant predictor of economic growth, where higher extremity leads to lower GDP growth rates. Oil is still an extremely important factor in explaining the variation in GDP levels and growth rates in the Muslim world.
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