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Measuring institutional quality in ancient Athens

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Author Info

  • Bergh, Andreas

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Lund University)

  • Lyttkens, Carl Hampus

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Lund University)

Abstract

We use the Economic Freedom Index (Gwartney, Lawson and Norton 2008) to characterise the institutions of ancient Athens in the fourth century BCE. It has been shown that ancient Greece witness improved living conditions for an extended period of time. Athens in the classical period appears to fare particularly well. We find that economic freedom in ancient Athens is on level with the highest ranked modern economies such as contemporary Hong Kong and Singapore. With the exception of the position of women and slaves, Athens scores high in almost every dimension of economic freedom. Trade was highly important even by current standards. As studies of contemporary societies show institutional quality to be an important determinant of economic growth, this may be one factor in the relative material success of the Athenians.

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File URL: http://project.nek.lu.se/publications/workpap/papers/WP11_10.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Lund University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2011:10.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: 15 Feb 2011
Date of revision: 18 Oct 2011
Handle: RePEc:hhs:lunewp:2011_010

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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: institutions; quality; growth; ancient Athens;

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References

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  1. Christian Bjørnskov & Nicolai J. Foss, 2006. "Economic Freedom and entrepreneurial Activity Some Cross-Country Evidence," DRUID Working Papers 06-18, DRUID, Copenhagen Business School, Department of Industrial Economics and Strategy/Aalborg University, Department of Business Studies.
  2. Milanovic, Branko & Lindert, Peter & Williamson, Jeffrey, 2007. "Measuring Ancient Inequality," MPRA Paper 5388, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Berggren, Niclas & Jordahl, Henrik, 2003. "Does free trade really reduce growth? Further testing using the economic freedom index," Ratio Working Papers 25, The Ratio Institute.
  4. Jac C. Heckelman, 2000. "Economic Freedom and Economic Growth: A Short-run Causal Investigation," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 71-91, May.
  5. Dawson, John W, 1998. "Institutions, Investment, and Growth: New Cross-Country and Panel Data Evidence," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(4), pages 603-19, October.
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