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Building Legal Order in Ancient Athens

35 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2015 Last revised: 20 Oct 2015

Federica Carugati

Indiana University Bloomington - Ostrom Workshop; Indiana University Bloomington - Department of Political Science; Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Gillian K. Hadfield

USC Law School and Department of Economics

Barry R. Weingast

Stanford University, Department of Political Science

Date Written: October 8, 2015

Abstract

How do democratic societies establish and maintain order in ways that are conducive to growth? Contemporary scholarship associates order, democracy, and growth with centralized rule of law institutions. In this article, we test the robustness of modern assumptions by turning to the case of ancient Athens. Democratic Athens was remarkably stable and prosperous, but the ancient city-state never developed extensively centralized rule of law institutions. Drawing on the “what-is-law” account of legal order elaborated by Hadfield and Weingast (2012),we show that Athens’ legal order relied on institutions that achieved common knowledge and incentive compatibility for enforcers in a largely decentralized system of coercion. Our approach provides fresh insights into how robust legal orders may be built in countries where centralized rule of law institutions have failed to take root.

Keywords: law, legal history, law and economics, postive political theory and the law

JEL Classification: D72, D73, H11, K1, K4

Suggested Citation

Carugati, Federica and Hadfield, Gillian K. and Weingast, Barry R., Building Legal Order in Ancient Athens (October 8, 2015). Journal of Legal Analysis Advance Access, July 12, 2015; USC CLASS Research Papers Series No. CLASS15-1; USC Law Legal Studies Paper No. 15-1; Stanford Law and Economics Olin Working Paper No. 479. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2547107 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2547107

Federica Carugati

Indiana University Bloomington - Ostrom Workshop ( email )

513 North Park Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47408
United States

Indiana University Bloomington - Department of Political Science ( email )

Bloomington, IN
United States

Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )

211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

Gillian K. Hadfield

USC Law School and Department of Economics ( email )

699 Exposition Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States
213-821-6793 (Phone)
213-740-5502 (Fax)

Barry R. Weingast (Contact Author)

Stanford University, Department of Political Science ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States
650-723-0497 (Phone)
650-723-1808 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.stanford.edu/group/mcnollgast/cgi-bin/wordpress/

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