The Economic History Review

Religious minorities and firm ownership in early twentieth‐century Egypt

Volume 72 Issue 3
Home > The Economic History Review > Religious minorities and firm ownership in early twentieth‐century Egypt
Pages: 979-1007Authors: Cihan Artunç
Published online: July 30, 2018DOI: 10.1111/ehr.12769

Log in to access the full article.

Abstract This article examines the composition of firm ownership and entrepreneurship in Egypt between 1910 and 1949 by assembling a novel dataset on multi-owned firms. The evidence supports two main results. First, Muslim participation remained disproportionately low in partnerships but was distinctly high in corporations relative to non-Muslims. Second, Muslim-owned firms were frailer and more likely to experience early exits. The findings are consistent with the view that the region’s institutional legacy, such as disparities in physical or human capital, created obstacles for Muslims. When these implications are tested, the findings show that only small-scale Muslim firms had restricted access to capital. The skewness in Muslim firms’ entry and start-up size is probably the result of legal distortions introduced by the government, which entrenched a small class of political elites in large-scale firms.