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The Economics of Ottoman Justice
Settlement and Trial in the Sharia Courts

Part of Cambridge Studies in Islamic Civilization

  • Date Published: November 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316610275

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  • During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Ottoman Empire endured long periods of warfare, facing intense financial pressures and new international mercantile and monetary trends. The Empire also experienced major political-administrative restructuring and socioeconomic transformations. In the context of this tumultuous change, The Economics of Ottoman Justice examines Ottoman legal practices and the sharia court's operations to reflect on the judicial system and provincial relationships. Metin Coşgel and Boğaç Ergene provide a systematic depiction of socio-legal interactions, identifying how different social, economic, gender and religious groups used the court, how they settled their disputes, and which factors contributed to their success at trial. Using an economic approach, Coşgel and Ergene offer rare insights into the role of power differences in judicial interactions, and into the reproduction of communal hierarchies in court, and demonstrate how court use patterns changed over time.

    • Offers a quantitative approach to a systematic analysis of legal practice in the Ottoman Empire
    • Depicts the interactions of different social, economic, gender and religious groups in their use of the sharia court
    • Identifies temporal changes in court-use patterns and the court's services, providing context to the sharia court's place and function
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Metin Coşgel and Boğaç Ergene have written a well-researched book that pushes the boundary of interdisciplinary scholarship. Their history is informed by economics, and their economics is generalized via history. It is an impressive and difficult methodology to pull off, yet Coşgel and Ergene have done just this.' Jared Rubin, EH.Net

    'The scholarship of Coşgel and Ergene is astonishing, deep in the archives but with salient comparisons to other parts of the Empire and the world, subtle in legal knowledge but penetrating in game theory. The book melds the intellectual values of history and of economics, practicing quantitative economic history with a humanistic sensibility. Coşgel and Ergene, indeed, pioneer a legal 'humanomic' history - economics with the people left in, legal history with the economics left in, history with all the facts left in, qualitative and quantitative.' Deirdre N. McCloskey, Distinguished Professor Emerita of Economics and of History, Professor Emerita of English and of Communication, University of Illinois at Chicago

    'In this eye-opening study … the authors demonstrate the value of an interdisciplinary approach, as well as the power of the tools of economics to shed new and important light on how the legal system worked … The use of quantitative methods and models from Law-and Economics pays off richly. Anyone interested in how institutions worked in the past to enforce contracts and property rights should read this book.' Joel Mokyr, Northwestern University, author of A Culture of Growth: Origins of the Modern Economy (Princeton, 2016)

    'Metin Coşgel and Boğaç Ergene masterfully combine the insights from the law and economics literature with the methods of history and quantitative analysis to study the court documents and legal practice … The result is a well written and path-breaking book.' Şevket Pamuk, Bogaziçi (Bosphorus) University, Turkey

    'Using the [court records] of Kastamonu, and with singular clarity, historian Boğaç Ergene and economist Metin Coşgel have established a quantitative template for the study of the impact of status and wealth on access and resolution in the Ottoman courts of the 18th century.' Virginia H. Aksan, McMaster University

    'In The Economics of Ottoman Justice, Cosgel and Ergene put Law and Economics insights to excellent use in analyzing data from an Ottoman court. Combine that with a historian's broad and deep appreciation for social and cultural context, and this book represents a model for how to do truly interdisciplinary scholarship.' Peter Siegelman, University of Connecticut Law School

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316610275
    • length: 364 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.53kg
    • contains: 5 b/w illus. 63 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    Part I. Methodology and Background:
    1. Quantitative approaches in research on Ottoman legal practice
    2. Kastamonu: the town and its people
    Part II. The Court and Court Clients:
    3. The court, its actors, and its archive
    4. Court use: a preliminary analysis
    Part III. To Settle or Not to Settle:
    5. Dispute resolution in Ottoman courts of law
    6. Trial vs settlement: an economic approach
    7. Which disputes went to trial? Case-type- and period-based analyses
    Part IV. Litigations:
    8. Rules and tools of litigation
    9. Economics of litigation: what affects success at trial?
    10. Who won? Case-type- and period-based analyses
    Conclusion.

  • Authors

    Metin Coşgel, University of Connecticut
    Metin Coşgel is Professor of Economics and Department Head of the Department of Economics at the University of Connecticut. He has published widely on the Ottoman Empire.

    Boğaç Ergene, University of Vermont
    Boğaç Ergene is Associate Professor of History at the University of Vermont. He is the author of Local Court, Provincial Society and Justice in the Ottoman Empire (2003).

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