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Athens – An Incidental Democracy. A case of unintended consequences of institutional change

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Author Info

  • Lyttkens, Carl Hampus

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Lund University)

Abstract

Around 600 B.C., Athens was ruled by a birth aristocracy. Some 150 years later, the city-state was a “democracy”. A rational-actor perspective, as perceived in the new institutional economics, sheds additional light on this intriguing transformation by focussing our attention on the incentives of individual actors, for example. Furthermore, it illustrates the unpredictable nature of the long-run consequences of institutional change. Repeatedly, a result of the intra-elite competition for power was that members of the elite unwittingly contributed to the changes that eventually undermined their own dominant position as a group.

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File URL: http://project.nek.lu.se/publications/workpap/Papers/WP04_19.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Lund University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2004:19.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: 30 Jul 2004
Date of revision: 19 Nov 2004
Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2004_019

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Postal: Department of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Lund University, Box 7082, S-220 07 Lund,Sweden
Phone: +46 +46 222 0000
Fax: +46 +46 2224613
Web page: http://www.nek.lu.se/en
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Keywords: institutional change; unintended; democracy; Athens;

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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.

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