Timur Kuran is Professor of Economics and Political Science, and Gorter Family Professor of Islamic Studies at Duke University. His research focuses on social change, including the evolution of preferences and institutions. He is an authority on the economic history and thought of the Middle East. His current projects include a multi-volume study of the role that Islam played in the economic rise of the Middle East and, subsequently, in the institutional stagnation that accompanied the region’s slip into a state of underdevelopment. Among his publications are Private Truths, Public Lies: The Social Consequences of Preference Falsification (Harvard University Press); Islam and Mammon: The Economic Predicaments of Islamism (Princeton University Press); and The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East (Princeton University Press).
After graduating from Robert Academy, Istanbul in 1973, he went onto study economics at Princeton University (AB 1977) and Stanford University (Ph.D. 1982). Between 1982 and 2007 he taught at the University of Southern California. He was also a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the John Olin Visiting Professor at the Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago, and a visiting professor of economics at Stanford University. He is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the International Economic Association, edits a book series for Cambridge University Press, and serves on the editorial boards of five academic journals.