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Democracy and Public Choice in Classical Athens

Listed author(s):
  • Arvanitidis Paschalis A.

    ()

  • Kyriazis Nicholas C.

    (Department of Economics, University of Thessaly, Korai 43, Volos 38333, Greece)

Drawing on classical Athens the paper explores the qualities and workings of direct democracy and provides a simple model of public choice to analyse policymaking with specific reference to war and peace. Given the cost and the benefits of defence and the public revenues at the time, it looks into the motives, processes and consequences of decision-making for war or peace in two historical situations (the Themistocles’ Naval Law and the Eubulus’ and Lycurgus’ “social contracts”) to ascertain that under direct democracy economically-motivated, bounded-rational individuals tend to designate policies that advance their personal welfare along with the overall welfare of the community. Moreover, such a policy course has not only economic, but also political and social implications: it entrenches direct democracy to the polity and reinforces equality, freedom, security and solidarity among the people.

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Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy.

Volume (Year): 19 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (August)
Pages: 213-248

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:pepspp:v:19:y:2013:i:2:p:213-248:n:2
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  1. Lars P. Feld & Justina A.V. Fischer & Gebhard Kirchgässner, 2010. "The Effect Of Direct Democracy On Income Redistribution: Evidence For Switzerland," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(4), pages 817-840, October.
  2. Kaiser, Brooks A., 2007. "The Athenian Trierarchy: Mechanism Design for the Private Provision of Public Goods," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 67(02), pages 445-480, June.
  3. George Tridimas, 2011. "A political economy perspective of direct democracy in ancient Athens," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 58-82, March.
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  7. Matthias Benz & Alois Stutzer, 2004. "Are Voters Better Informed When They Have a Larger Say in Politics? -- Evidence for the European Union and Switzerland," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 119(1_2), pages 31-59, 04.
  8. Nicholas Kyriazis & Michel Zouboulakis, 2004. "Democracy, Sea Power and Institutional Change: An Economic Analysis of the Athenian Naval Law," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 117-132, January.
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  15. Anastassios Karayiannis & Aristides Hatzis, 2012. "Morality, social norms and the rule of law as transaction cost-saving devices: the case of ancient Athens," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 33(3), pages 621-643, June.
  16. Lyttkens, Carl Hampus, 2010. "Institutions, taxation, and market relationships in ancient Athens," Journal of Institutional Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 6(04), pages 505-527, December.
  17. Anthony Downs, 1957. "An Economic Theory of Political Action in a Democracy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 65, pages 135-135.
  18. Nicholas Kyriazis, 2007. "Democracy and institutional change," European Research Studies Journal, European Research Studies Journal, vol. 0(1-2), pages 65-82.
  19. Feld, Lars P & Savioz, Marcel R, 1997. "Direct Democracy Matters for Economic Performance: An Empirical Investigation," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(4), pages 507-538.
  20. Ian Morris, 2004. "Economic Growth in Ancient Greece," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 160(4), pages 709-709, December.
  21. Matsusaka, John G, 1995. "Fiscal Effects of the Voter Initiative: Evidence from the Last 30 Years," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(3), pages 587-623, June.
  22. 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.
  23. Caruso Raul, 2011. "On the Nature of Peace Economics," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(2), pages 1-13, January.
  24. Torgler, Benno, 2005. "Tax morale and direct democracy," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 525-531, June.
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