Timur Kuran, Professor of Economics and Political Science and Gorter Family Chair in Islamic Studies
303A Perkins/234 Soc Sci
+ 1 919 660 4302/+1 919 660 1872
Teaching (Fall 2013):
ECON 751.01, POLITICAL ECONOMY INSTITUTIONSSynopsis
Social Sciences 327, Tu 06:15 PM-08:45 PM
Comparative Politics Political Economy Political Institutions
Timur Kuran is Professor of Economics and Political Science, and Gorter Family Professor in Islam and the Social Sciences at Duke University. His teaching and research draw on multiple disciplines, including economics, political science, history, and legal studies.
He has written extensively on the evolution of preferences and institutions, with contributions to the study of hidden preferences, the unpredictability of social revolutions, the dynamics of ethnic conflict, perceptions of discrimination, and the evolution of morality. His best known theoretical work is Private Truths, Public Lies: The Social Consequences of Preference Falsification (Harvard University Press), which deals with the repercussions of being dishonest about what one knows and wants. Since its original publication in 1995, this book has appeared also in German, Swedish, Turkish, and Chinese.
Kuran has also written on Islam and the Middle East, with an initial focus on contemporary attempts to restructure economies according to Islamic teachings. Several of his essays on this topic are included in Islam and Mammon: The Economic Predicaments of Islamism (Princeton University Press). Since the mid-1990s he has turned his attention to the conundrum of why the Middle East, which once had a high standard of living by global standards, subsequently fell behind in various realms, including economic production, organizational capability, technological creativity, democratization, and military strength.
He is at work on books and articles on this general subject. His thesis is that the economic and educational institutions of Islam, though well-suited to the era in which they emerged, were poorly suited to a dynamic industrial economy. These institutions fostered social equilibria that reduced the likelihood of modern capitalism emerging from within Islamic civilization. His recent papers have identified obstacles involving inheritance practices, contract law, procedures of the courts, the absence of corporations, the financial system, and the delivery of social services.
Since 1990 Kuran has been the founding editor of an interdisciplinary book series published by the University of Michigan Press. He has served, or currently serves, on the editorial or advisory boards of numerous scholarly journals. He taught at University of Southern California from 1982 to 2007, holding the King Faisal chair in Islamic Thought and Culture from 1993 onward. Since 2005, he has been Director of USC's Institute for Economic Research on Civilizations. In 1989-90 he was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton; in 1996-97 he held the John Olin Visiting professorship at the Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago; and in 2004-05 he was Visiting Professor of Economics at Stanford University.
Timur Kuran, Explaining the Economic Trajectories of Civilizations: The Systemic Approach,
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, vol. 71
pp. 593-605 [abs].
Timur Kuran, The Scale of Entrepreneurship in Middle Eastern History: Inhibitive Roles of Islamic Institutions,
in Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship in Economic History, edited by William J. Baumol, David S. Landes, and Joel Mokyr
pp. 62-87, Princeton University Press .
Timur Kuran and William Sandholm, Cultural Integration and Its Discontents,
Review of Economic Studies, vol. 75
pp. 201-228 .
Timur Kuran, The Absence of the Corporation in Islamic Law: Origins and Persistence,
American Journal of Comparative Law, vol. 53
pp. 785-834 .
Timur Kuran, The Logic of Financial Westernization in the Middle East,
Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, vol. 56
pp. 593-615 .
Timur Kuran, Islam and Mammon: The Economic Predicaments of Islamism
(2004), Princeton University Press [abs].
Timur Kuran, The Islamic Commercial Crisis: Institutional Roots of Economic Underdevelopment in the Middle East,
Journal of Economic History, vol. 63
pp. 414-446 .
Timur Kuran, Private Truths, Public Lies: The Social Consequences of Preference Falsification
(1995), Harvard University Press .
Timur Kuran, The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East
(2011), Princeton University Press .
Timur Kuran, (Ed.) Mahkeme Kayıtları Işığında 17. Yüzyıl İstanbul’unda Sosyo-Ekonomik Yaşam / Social and Economic Life in Seventeenth-Century Istanbul: Glimpses from Court Records, Vols. 1-8
(2010-12), Istanbul: İş Bankası Kültür Yayınları, .
Timur Kuran and Scott Lustig, Judicial Biases in Ottoman Istanbul: Islamic Justice and Its Compatibility with Modern Economic Life,
Journal of Law and Economics, vol. 55
pp. in press .