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The Origins of Democracy: A Model with Application to Ancient Greece

  • Fleck, Robert K
  • Hanssen, F Andrew

This paper seeks to provide an improved understanding of the origins of democracy. It begins by developing a theoretical model to demonstrate how exogenous economic conditions can influence the incentives to establish democratic institutions. The model predicts that democratic institutions will expand where they mitigate important time-inconsistency problems and, therefore, encourage investment. Exogenous conditions determine the magnitude of those time-inconsistency problems and, hence, the likelihood of democracy. A comparison of ancient Greek city-states suggests that the conditions under which democracy first emerged support the model. Other potential applications are discussed.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 49 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 115-46

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:y:2006:v:49:i:1:p:115-46
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/

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