Democracy and Public Choice in Classical Athens
Paschalis Arvanitidis and
Kyriazis Nicholas C.
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Kyriazis Nicholas C.: Department of Economics, University of Thessaly, Korai 43, Volos 38333, Greece
Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, 2013, vol. 19, issue 2, 213-248
Drawing on classical Athens the paper explores the qualities and workings of direct democracy and provides a simple model of public choice to analyse policymaking with specific reference to war and peace. Given the cost and the benefits of defence and the public revenues at the time, it looks into the motives, processes and consequences of decision-making for war or peace in two historical situations (the Themistocles’ Naval Law and the Eubulus’ and Lycurgus’ “social contracts”) to ascertain that under direct democracy economically-motivated, bounded-rational individuals tend to designate policies that advance their personal welfare along with the overall welfare of the community. Moreover, such a policy course has not only economic, but also political and social implications: it entrenches direct democracy to the polity and reinforces equality, freedom, security and solidarity among the people.
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