Timur Kuran is a Turkish American economist, Professor of Economics and Political Science, and Gorter Family Professor in Islamic Studies at Duke University. His teaching and research draw on multiple disciplines, including economics, political science, history, and legal studies.
Born in 1954 in New York City, where his parents lived while graduate students at Yale University, Kuran spent his early childhood in Ankara, where his father taught at the Middle East Technical University. When he was a teenager, his family moved to Istanbul. For a decade, he lived just off the campus of Boğaziçi University, where his father was president and professor of Islamic architectural history.
Kuran obtained his secondary education in Turkey, graduating from Robert College in Istanbul in 1973. He then studied economics at Princeton University, graduating magna cum laude in 1977. He went on to Stanford University to obtain a doctorate in economics. His doctoral supervisor was Kenneth Arrow, a Nobel laureate.
From 1990 to 2008 Kuran served as editor of an interdisciplinary book series published by the University of Michigan Press. This series was re-established at Cambridge University Press in 2009 under the title Cambridge Studies in Economics, Cognition and Society. He has served, or currently serves, on the editorial or advisory boards of numerous scholarly journals. He taught at University of Southern California between 1982 and 2007, where he held the King Faisal professorship in Islamic thought and culture from 1993 onwards. From 2005 to 2007, he was Director of USC's Institute for Economic Research on Civilizations, which he founded. In 1989–90 he was a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton; in 1996–97 he held the John Olin visiting professorship at the Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago; and in 2004–05 he was visiting professor of economics at Stanford University. He is currently a member of the Executive Committee of the International Economic Association.