Munich Personal RePEc Archive

A Comparison of Transactions in Conventional and Islamic Economies

Al-Jarhi, Mabid (2000): A Comparison of Transactions in Conventional and Islamic Economies. Published in: Proceedings of the Fourth Harvard University Forum on Islamic Finance: Islamic Finance: The Task Ahead No. 2000 (2000): pp. 27-34.

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This paper compares the transactions costs in two economies, one conventional, the other Islamic. The conventional economy is characterized by borrowing to finance some current purchases, while the Islamic economy disallows interest-based lending and operates on the basis of universal banking that mixes commerce and commercial and investment banking. To finance current purchases, it provides customers with credit purchase agreements, which entail that the bank buy the commodities and assets from suppliers and resell them on credit to customers satisfying conditions of creditworthiness similar to those that conventional banks require for borrowers. The paper uses simple calculations to compare transactions costs in both economies. It argues that under competitive competition, credit purchase arrangements occasion lower transactions costs than borrow-and-purchase arrangements in the conventional economy. The most important implication is that a policy that lifts entry barriers in the Islamic banking market and allows banks to combine commerce with banking activities contributes to social welfare. The paper concludes with suggestions for further points of research.

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