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

Montana State University Working Paper

45 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2002

See all articles by Robert K. Fleck

Robert K. Fleck

Montana State University - Bozeman - Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics

F. Andrew Hanssen

Clemson University - John E. Walker Department of Economics

Date Written: July 17, 2002

Abstract

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 both the incentives to establish democratic institutions and the likelihood that such institutions survive. 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.

Keywords: Democracy, ancient Greece, time-inconsistency, property rights, institutions

JEL Classification: H1, D7, N4, D23

Suggested Citation

Fleck, Robert K. and Hanssen, F., The Origins of Democracy: A Model with Application to Ancient Greece (July 17, 2002). Montana State University Working Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=321080 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.321080

Robert K. Fleck

Montana State University - Bozeman - Department of Agricultural Economics and Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 172920
Bozeman, MT 59717-2920
United States
406-994-5603 (Phone)
406-994-4838 (Fax)

F. Hanssen (Contact Author)

Clemson University - John E. Walker Department of Economics ( email )

Clemson, SC 29634
United States

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