The impact of Islam on economic growth: evidence from cross country regressions

Nadwa Mossaad, Population Reference Bureau (PRB)

Does the Middle East and North Africa’s lack of effective institutions, good governance, and diversity of perspectives hold back the region’s economic performance? Are culture and religion, Islam in particular, to blame for economic stagnation? The majority of Muslims believe that the quintessence of Islam lies in leading an Islamic way of life which seeps into every facet of daily existence. This paper explores the indirect and direct impact of religious intensity and to a lesser extent being a Muslim nation on economic growth. Using a sample of 73 countries, I examine three important determinants of economic growth believed to be directly interrelated to Islam and hinder growth through elements of religion that are not amiable to egalitarianism and growth. Gender inequality is one element. A second is human capital investment through education and training. Third is the level of private and public investment in relation to GDP.

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Presented in Poster Session 5: Contexts