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Fifteen Egyptian firms producing goods and services were classified into two sets by method of finance, i.e. profit sharing for the seven Islamic versus debt-at-interest for the eight non-Islamic firms. Interviewed in 1993 and 1994, the two groups were found to be similar in customer relations and market behaviour and in paternalism towards employees. However, the non-Islamic firms had a significantly higher average profit rate, while the Islamic firms paid a significantly higher average wage, suggesting that cultural institutions shape economic behaviour even in a well-established market economy.

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