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Factor Markets in Early Islamic Iraq, c. 600-1100 AD

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AbstractThis paper reconstructs the organization and development of factor markets in early medieval Iraq. It shows that from the late Sasanian period on, and accelerating in the early Islamic period, there was a relatively unrestricted functioning of markets for goods, labour, and capital. This stimulated market exchange, associated with growing monetization of the economy, especially in the towns, but also in the countryside, even though coercion remained more pronounced there. We hypothesize that these developments brought economic dynamism but simultaneously increased inequality and furthered the rise of new, powerful elite groups, causing the decline of the same markets.

Affiliations: 1: Utrecht; 2: University of; 3: Utrecht


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