Timur Kuran

The Gorter Family Professor of Islamic Studies in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

External Address: 
Department of Economics, Box 90097, 213 Chapel Drive, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90097, Department of Economics, Durham, NC 27708
(919) 660-1800
Comparative Politics, Political Economy, Political Institutions

Timur Kuran is Professor of Economics and Political Science, and Gorter Family Professor of Islamic Studies at Duke University. His research focuses on (1) social change, including the evolution of preferences and institutions, and (2) the economic and political history and modernization of the Middle East. His current projects include a study of the role that the Middle East’s traditional institutions played in its poor political performance, as measured by democratization and human liberties. Among his publications are Private Truths, Public Lies: The Social Consequences of Preference Falsification (Harvard University Press); Islam and Mammon: The Economic Predicaments of Islamism (Princeton University Press); The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East (Princeton University Press); and a tri-lingual edited work that consists of ten volumes, Socio-Economic Life in Seventeenth-century Istanbul: Glimpses from Court Records (İş Bank Publications). After graduating from Robert Academy in Istanbul in 1973, Kuran went on to study economics at Princeton University (AB 1977) and Stanford University (PhD 1982). Between 1982 and 2007 he taught at the University of Southern California. He was also a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the John Olin Visiting Professor at the Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago, and a visiting professor of economics at Stanford University. He currently directs the Association for Analytic Learning about Islam and Muslim Societies (AALIMS); is a member of the Executive Committee of the International Economic Association; edits a book series for Cambridge University Press, serves on numerous editorial boards; and is a member of the Turkish Academy of Sciences. He has served on the World Economic Forum’s Arab World Council.


  • Ph.D., Stanford University 1982
  • M.A., Stanford University 1979

Kuran, T. "The rule of law in Islamic thought and practice: A historical perspective." Global Perspectives on the Rule of Law. January 1, 2013. 71-90. Full Text

Kuran, T. "The scale of entrepreneurship in middle eastern history: Inhibitive roles of Islamic institutions." The Invention of Enterprise: Entrepreneurship from Ancient Mesopotamia to Modern Times. February 26, 2012. 62-87.

Kuran, T. "Economic underdevelopment in the Middle East: The historical roles of culture, institutions and religion." Culture, Institutions, and Development: New Insights Into an Old Debate. September 2, 2010. 87-102. Full Text

Kuran, T. "Modern Islam and the economy." The New Cambridge History of Islam: Muslims and Modernity Culture and Society Since 1800. January 1, 2010. 473-494. Full Text

Enikolopov, R, Kuran, T, and Li, H. "Statement by New Editors." Journal of Comparative Economics 45.1 (February 2017): iii-iv. Full Text

Kuran, T. "Legal Roots of Authoritarian Rule in the Middle East: Civic Legacies of the Islamic Waqf." American Journal of Comparative Law 64.2 (July 1, 2016): 419-454. Full Text

Çokgezen, M, and Kuran, T. "Between Consumer Demand and Islamic Law: The Evolution of Islamic Credit Cards in Turkey." Journal of Comparative Economics 43.4 (November 2015): 862-882. (Working Paper) Full Text Open Access Copy

Kuran, T. "Institutional Roots of Authoritarian Rule in the Middle East: Civic Legacies of the Islamic Waqf." Economic Research Initiatives at Duke (ERID) Working Paper 171 (June 12, 2014). (Working Paper) Open Access Copy

Timur Kuran, . "The Political Consequences of Islam’s Economic Legacy." Philosophy and Social Criticism 39 (2013): in press-. (Academic Article)

Timur Kuran, . "Religious Obstacles to Democratization in the Middle East: Past and Present." The Wealth and Well-Being of Nations 5 (2013): in press-. (Academic Article)

Kuran, T, and Lustig, S. "Judicial Biases in Ottoman Istanbul: Islamic Justice and Its Compatibility with Modern Economic Life." JOURNAL OF LAW & ECONOMICS 55.3 (August 2012): 631-666. Full Text


Economic Freedom and Development in the Muslim World awarded by Georgetown University (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2017

Religious Freedom in the Islamic World awarded by Georgetown University (Principal Investigator). 2014