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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