Volume 9 (2013)
Volume 8 (2012)
Volume 7 (2011)
Volume 6 (2010)
Volume 5 (2009)
Volume 4 (2008)
Volume 3 (2007)
Volume 2 (2006)
Most Downloaded Articles
- Federalism, Budget Deficits and Public Debt: On the Reform of Germany's Fiscal Constitution by Feld, Lars P. and Baskaran, Thushyanthan
- On the Behavioral Economics of Crime by van Winden, Frans A.A.M. and Ash, Elliott
- Emissions Trading and the Polluter-Pays Principle: Do Polluters Pay under Grandfathering? by Woerdman, Edwin/ Arcuri, Alessandra and Clò, Stefano
- A Framework for the Analysis of Market Manipulation by Ledgerwood, Shaun D. and Carpenter, Paul R.
- Judicial Review in China: A Positive Political Economy Analysis by Ip, Eric C.
The Origin of Democracy in Athens
1Saint Bonaventure University
Citation Information: Review of Law & Economics. Volume 8, Issue 2, Pages 531–562, ISSN (Online) 1555-5879, DOI: 10.1515/1555-5879.1597, October 2012
- Published Online:
A new explanation of the origin of democracy is presented, motivated by historical observations from ancient Athens. It is argued that volatility in wealth across generations encouraged the elites to extend the franchise to nonelites. While being among the elite allows for the extraction of wealth from the nonelite, if there is a significant probability that one’s offspring will fall from the ranks of the elite, then the enfranchised may have the incentive to provide democracy. This proves an insurance for one’s offspring. Furthermore, providing this protection allows, in certain environments, an elite to consume more in his life.