The Adoption of Paper in the Middle East, 700-1300 ad

In: Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient

Abstract

The adoption of paper in the Middle East changed literacy practices and improved economic performance, yet current accounts remain unhelpful for understanding why and how it happened. This paper offers a new analysis of the long-term factors behind the adoption of paper in the Middle East, combining insights from economic theory, economic history and evidence from quantitative studies. The paper establishes a long-term trend in the price of writing material and books in the Middle East, and suggests an explanation based on economic factors which led to a decline in the price of inputs in paper production.

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