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Reflections on the Origins of the Polis

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  • Carl Lyttkens

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Abstract

From a beginning of small isolated settlements around 1000 B.C., the city-state (polis) emerged in Greece in the course of four centuries as a political, geographical and judicial unit, with an assembly, council, magistrates and written laws. Using a rational-actor perspective, it is shown how this process was driven by competition among the members of the elite. A crucial ingredient was the gradual consolidation of boundaries, which contributed to population growth, inter-state conflicts, colonisation and competition for power. Variations over time in the conditions for competition explain both the introduction of formal political institutions and their overthrow by tyrants. Copyright Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10602-006-6792-z
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Constitutional Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 17 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (03)
Pages: 31-48

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Handle: RePEc:kap:copoec:v:17:y:2006:i:1:p:31-48

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=102866

Related research

Keywords: Institutional change; Ancient Greece; City-state; Competition; D70; N43; P14; P16;

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References

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  1. North, Douglass C., 1994. "The historical evolution of polities," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 381-391, December.
  2. Avner Greif, 1997. "Self-enforcing Political System and Economic Growth: Late Medieval Genoa," Working Papers 97037, Stanford University, Department of Economics.
  3. Lyttkens Carl Hampus, 1994. "A Predatory Democracy? An Essay on Taxation in Classical Athens," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 62-90, January.
  4. Greif, Avner, 1994. "Cultural Beliefs and the Organization of Society: A Historical and Theoretical Reflection on Collectivist and Individualist Societies," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(5), pages 912-50, October.
  5. Greif, Avner, 1994. "On the Political Foundations of the Late Medieval Commercial Revolution: Genoa During the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(02), pages 271-287, June.
  6. Yoram Barzel, 2000. "Property rights and the evolution of the state," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 25-51, 03.
  7. Robert H. Bates & Avner Greif & Margaret Levi & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 1998. "Analytic Narratives," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 6355.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. George Tridimas, 2011. "A political economy perspective of direct democracy in ancient Athens," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 58-82, March.
  2. Lyttkens, Carl Hampus, 2008. "Institutions, taxation, and market relationships in ancient Athens," Working Papers 2008:9, Lund University, Department of Economics.
  3. Douglas Allen & Vera Lantinova, 2013. "The ancient olympics as a signal of city-state strength," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 23-44, February.

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