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Religion and Socioeconomic Status

In a recent NEP-HIS Blog post, Chris Colvin reviews a paper by Mohamed Saleh (Toulouse) which looks at the relationship between socioeconomic status and religion. One of the big debates in this literature is whether religion results in better socioeconomic status or whether socioeconomic status determines religiosity. Saleh's paper looks at the effect of a tax on non-Muslims in Egypt which was imposed from 640 until 1856. He finds that poor Copts converted to Islam to avoid the tax whereas wealthier Copts didn't. This may explain why non-Muslims are traditionally better off than the Muslim majority in Muslim countries today. Saleh's paper is available here.

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