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A Rational-Actor Perspective on the Origin of Liturgies in Ancient Greece


  • Carl Hampus Lyttkens


In the classical period, it was a duty and an honour for rich Athenians to perform liturgies - to provide services for the common good. Using a rational-actor perspective, it is shown that the origin of this practice may go back to 594 B.C., when Solomon introduced a property qualification for office. This reform gave the rich Athenians an incentive to signal their wealth by publicly visible spending and provided an important impetus to liturgical spending. Institutional change is seen here to occur as an interplay between formal and informal rules, between institutions and individual behaviour.

Suggested Citation

  • Carl Hampus Lyttkens, 1997. "A Rational-Actor Perspective on the Origin of Liturgies in Ancient Greece," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 153(3), pages 462-462, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:jinste:urn:sici:0932-4569(199709)153:3_462:arpoto_2.0.tx_2-r

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Arvanitidis Paschalis A. & Kyriazis Nicholas C., 2013. "Democracy and Public Choice in Classical Athens," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 19(2), pages 213-248, August.
    3. Kyriazis, Nicholas & Economou, Emmanouel/Marios/Lazaros, 2012. "Property rights and democratic values in Bronze Age and Archaic Greece," MPRA Paper 42399, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Economou, Emmanouel/Marios/Lazaros & Kyriazis, Nicholas, 2012. "Macroculture, Athletics and Democracy in ancient Greece," MPRA Paper 45903, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Emmanouil Economou & Nicholas Kyriazis & Theodore Metaxas, 2015. "The institutional and economic foundations of regional proto-federations," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 251-271, August.
    6. Nicholas Kyriazis & Emmanouil Economou, 2015. "Macroculture, sports and democracy in classical Greece," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 40(3), pages 431-455, December.
    7. Economou Emmanouil M.L. & Kyriazis Nicholas C., 2016. "Choosing Peace Instead of War. A Lesson from Athenian Democracy," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 22(2), pages 191-212, April.
    8. Economou, Emmanouel/Marios/Lazaros & Kyriazis, Nicholas, 2015. "Athenian fiscal expansionary policy and peace versus war strategy," MPRA Paper 62987, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • B40 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - General
    • N01 - Economic History - - General - - - Development of the Discipline: Historiographical; Sources and Methods
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913


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