Graduation Year

Spring 2013

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Cameron Shelton

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Rights Information

© 2013 Katherine Johnson


Islamic banking is currently one of the fastest growing segments of the financial market industry, operating in over 75 countries through 300 institutions. While past literature has established the development of financial institutions as a determinant of economic growth, research on the correlation of the diffusion of Islamic banking with economic growth is limited. This study seeks to add to the literature by empirically analyzing the economic growth determinative power of Islamic banks. Confirming past research, Muslim prevalence in a population is found to be the most significant determinant of the diffusion of Islamic banks. Using this exogenous instrument in 2SLS regressions, results show that Islamic banks are not significantly correlated with economic growth. Most notably, including the Islamic banking instrument affects the strength of beta-convergence. Basic Solovian specifications show that convergence occurs; countries with higher initial GDP per capita grow more slowly. After accounting for the intensity of Islamic banking, this effect becomes much less statistically significant, suggesting that some of the effect of convergence may operate through the propensity to adopt Islamic banking. Empirical analysis disaffirms the hypothesis that Islamic banks minimize the explanatory power of legal origin on economic growth due to their independent implementation of Shariah law; the results show that accounting for Islamic banks has no effect on the determinative power of legal origin. Finally, the correlation of Islamic banking and financial deepening is largely dependent on legal origin, resulting in negative effects for countries with British legal origin and positive for those with French legal origin.