Module description: Economic History and Development of the Middle East

Module name

Economic History and Development of the Middle East

Credit Points



Lecture (2 SWS), Tutorial (1 SWS): 5 ECTS

Mandatory assistance


Teaching Staff

Prof. Christine Binzel

Module Coordinator

Prof. Christine Binzel


The seminar gives an introduction to the economic history and development of the Middle East, in particular the rise of Islam and explanations for why the Middle East, once economically and scientifically advanced, fell behind Europe. The latter includes an examination of how Islam shaped the region’s economic development. Throughout, the emphasis is on analysis rather than description.
Topics covered include, amongst others: Origins and Spread of Islam, Institu-tional Stagnation, Choice of Law: Economic Consequences, and Religion and Politics.

Learning objectives and skills

Students (1) get an overview of the state-of-the-art research in the field, and (2) strengthen their ability to critically read and assess academic work. Further, non-econ students get an introduction to quantitative methods.



Integration in curriculum

Second semester.

Module compatibility

Regional or elective module for: “M.A. Development Economics and Interna-tional Studies”; Elective module for “MA Nahoststudien”

Method of examination

Written exam (60 minutes)

Grading procedure

Written exam (100%)

Module frequency

Every summer semester

Resit examinations

Failed exam can be retaken twice.


  • Attendance: 45 hours
  • Self-study: 105 hours


1 semester

Teaching and examination language


Recommended reading:

    The class will draw on journal articles mostly in the field of economics as well as on the following three books:
  • Kuran, Timur. 2011. The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Mid-dle East. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Platteau, Jean-Philippe. 2017. Islam Instrumentalised: Religion and Politics in Historical Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Rubin, Jared. 2017. Rulers, Religion, and Riches: Why the West Got Rich and the Middle East Did Not. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Last modified

April 2018