Working Papers, Department of Economics, Lund University
Carl Hampus Lyttkens
Athens – An Incidental Democracy. A case of unintended consequences of institutional change
Abstract: Around 600 B.C., Athens was ruled by a birth aristocracy.
Some 150 years later, the city-state was a “democracy”. A rational-actor
perspective, as perceived in the new institutional economics, sheds
additional light on this intriguing transformation by focussing our
attention on the incentives of individual actors, for example. Furthermore,
it illustrates the unpredictable nature of the long-run consequences of
institutional change. Repeatedly, a result of the intra-elite competition
for power was that members of the elite unwittingly contributed to the
changes that eventually undermined their own dominant position as a
Keywords: institutional change; unintended; democracy; Athens; (follow links to similar papers)
JEL-Codes: D72; N43; (follow links to similar papers)
55 pages, July 30, 2004, Revised November 19, 2004
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