Articles and Essays

(with Anantdeep Singh) “Economic Modernization in Late British India: Hindu-Muslim Differences”. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 61 (2013): 503-38.

"West is Best? Why Civilizations Rise and Fall". Foreign Affairs, 90 (January-February 2011): 159-63. Printer friendly version.

“Economic Development in the Middle East: The Historical Roles of Culture, Institutions, and Religion,” in Culture and Development , ed. Jean-Philippe Platteau (New York: Routledge, 2010), pp. 87-102.

Explaining the Economic Trajectories of Civilizations: The Systemic Approach.” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 71 (2009): 593-605.

(with William H. Sandholm) “Cultural Integration and Its Discontents.” Review of Economic Studies, 75 (2008): 201-228.

Institutional Causes of Underdevelopment in the Middle East: A Historical Perspective,” in Institutional Change and Economic Behavior, ed. János Kornai, Laszlo Matyas, and Gérard Roland (New York: Palgrave-Macmillan, 2008), pp. 64-76.

"The Logic of Financial Westernization in the Middle East." Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 56 (April 2005): 593-615.

"Islamic Statecraft and the Middle East's Delayed Modernization," in Political Competition, Innovation and Growth in the History of Asian Civilizations, ed. Peter Bernholz and Roland Vaubel (Cheltenham, U.K.: Edward Elgar, 2004), pp. 150-83.

"Why the Middle East Is Economically Underdeveloped: Historical Mechanisms of Institutional Stagnation." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 18 ( Summer 2004): 71-90.

  • Reprint in The Development Economics Reader, ed. Giorgio Secondi (London: Routledge, 2008), pp. 107-25.
  • Chinese translation: "Zhong Dong Di Qu He Yi Jing Ji Luo Hou: Jing Ji Ting Zhi De Li Shi Ji Li." Kai Fang Shi Dai (Open Times), 183 (March 2006): 89-105.
  • Arabic translation: "Asbāb Takhalluf al-Sharq al-Awsat Iqtisadiyyan Al-Āliyyat al-Tārikhiyyah lil-Rukūd al-Mu‘assasatiy.", April 2006.
  • Italian translation: "Perché il Medio Oriente è Economicamente Arretrato: Meccanismi Storici di Stagnazione Istituzionale." QA: Rivista dell' Associazione Manlio Rossi-Doria, 2005: 45-73.

"The Economic Ascent of the Middle East's Religious Minorities: The Role of Islamic Legal Pluralism." Journal of Legal Studies, 33 (June 2004): 475-515.

"Cultural Obstacles to Economic Development: Often Overstated, Usually Transitory," in Culture and Public Action, ed. Vijayendra Rao and Michael Walton (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2004), pp. 115-37.

(with Mongi Azabou and Mustapha Nabli) "The wholesale produce market of Tunis and its porters: A tale of market degeneration," in Mustapha Nabli and Jeffrey Nugent (eds.), The New Institutional Economics and Development: Theory and Applications to Tunisia (Amsterdam: North-Holland, 1989): 352-374. Abstract

"The craft guilds of Tunis and their amins: A study in institutional atrophy," in Mustapha Nabli and Jeffrey Nugent, (eds.), The New Institutional Economics and Development: Theory and Applications to Tunisia (Amsterdam: North-Holland, 1989): 236-264.

"The tenacious past: Theories of personal and collective conservatism," Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization , 10 (September 1988): 143-171. Abstract

"Internal migration: The unorganized urban sector and income distribution in Turkey, 1963-73," in Ergun Özbudun and Aydın Ulusan (eds.), The Political Economy of Income Distribution in Turkey (New York: Holmes and Meier, 1980): 349-378.

Technical appendix to "Substitution and structural change" [in Hollis Chenery, Structural Change and Development Policy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979)], World Bank Research Memorandum, August 1979.

Comments, replies, edited works, excerpts

Masahiko Aoki, Timur Kuran, and Gérard Roland, eds., in cooperation with Bina Aggarwal and Jan Svejnar, Institutions and Patterns of Economic Development: Vol. 1 of the Proceedings of the Sixteenth World Congress of the International Economic Association  (London: Palgrave, in press).

Julian Simon, The Great Breakthrough and Its Cause, ed. Timur Kuran with editorial preface (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2001).

"Institutions as regulators of economic change" [Comment on four articles by Eric Dahmén, Richard Day, Tad Rybcznski, and Gunnar Eliasson], in R. Day, G. Eliasson, and C. Wihlborg (eds.), The Market in Ownership, Innovation, and Control (Amsterdam: North-Holland, 1993): 50-53.

Encyclopedia Articles

Islamic economic institutions,” The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd. ed., vol. 4, ed. Steven Durlauf and Lawrence Blume (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008):. 299-302.

“Capitalism,” Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, vol. 1 (New York: Macmillan Reference, 2004): 126-28.

“Property,” Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, vol. 2 (New York: Macmillan Reference, 2004): 553-54.

“Riba,” Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, vol. 2 (New York: Macmillan Reference, 2004): 596-97.

“Levant: Islamic Rule,” Oxford Encyclopedia of Economic History, vol. 3 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003): 309-14.

(with Jeffrey Nugent) "Economic Development," The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World, vol. 1 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995): 393-397.

  • Revised and updated: Oxford Encyclopedia of the Modern Islamic World (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008), in press.


Mark Casson, The Economics of Business Culture: Game Theory, Transaction Costs, and Economic Performance (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991), in Journal of Economic Literature, 31 (March 1993): 234-235.

Jon Elster, The Cement of Society: A Study of Social Order (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), in Journal of Economic Literature, 28 (September 1990): 1194-1195.

Gerald Meier (ed.), Pioneers in Development: Second Series (London: Oxford University Press, 1987), in Journal of Economic Literature, 26 (December 1988): 1753-1755.

Moshe Syrquin, Lance Taylor, and Larry Westphal (eds.), Economic Structure and Performance (New York: Academic Press, 1984), in Journal of Economic Literature, 24 (June 1986): 687-688.

Bela Balassa and associates, Development Strategies in Semi-Industrial Economies (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1982), in Journal of Economic Literature, 21 (December 1983): 1515-1517. (Reprinted in English, Spanish, and Portuguese in Economic Impact.)

Selected writings for the popular press

Op-ed: "Phase III of the Arab World's Modernization: Building Accountability and Boosting Creativity," pp. 10-11 in World Economic Forum, The Compendium on Economic Governance in the Arab World 2011.

"Legal Roots of Economic Underdevelopment in the Middle East," European Financial Review (February-March 2011): 10-11 (essay summarizing the Long Divergence).


Interview on BBC Forum program podcast on "World Economic Crisis," moderated by Bridget Kendall. Participants: Timur Kuran, Danny Quah (LSE) and Robert Skidelsky (British House of Lords), December 14, 2011.

Radio interview with Jerry Bowyer, The American Entrepreneur, November 10, 2011:“Why Can’t the Middle East Catch Up to the World’s Leading Economies.” 

Podcast of interview with Anthony Gill of University of Washington, on why the Middle East fell behind Western Europe during the millennium preceding the Industrial revolution.

with Ali Bilge on Acik Radyo (94.9 FM Istanbul) regarding the causes of  economic underdevelopment in the Middle East, in Turkish. (Ali Bilge ile Acik Radyo'da "Orta Dogu'nun ekonomik azgelismisligi" konulu soylesi (2 bolum: 29-30 Haziran 2010).)


"Institutions and Economic Performance: A Conversation between Douglass North and Timur Kuran" (41 minute educational video for the Idea Channel (now the Free to Choose Network, May 2000).

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