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The evolution of property rights in Hellenistic Greece and the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt

Emmanouil M. L. Economou and Nicholas C. Kyriazis

Journal of Institutional Economics, 2019, vol. 15, issue 5, 827-843

Abstract: In the present paper we trace the development of property rights during the Hellenistic period (3rd–2nd centuries bce), focusing on Athens, the democratic Hellenistic federations and the Ptolemaic Kingdom in Egypt. Property rights had been already well developed and protected by courts and state laws during the previous Classical period in ancient Greece, but we argue that they further evolved during the Hellenistic period due to the introduction of a series of new political and economic institutions. We found that there was a causal relationship between the evolution of property rights and the further development of economic institutions in Hellenistic Athens and the Hellenistic federations. We finally argue that the development and adoption of market-oriented economic institutions by the Ptolemaic Kingdom should be attributed to the great influence that these institutions had in the entire Hellenistic world, which resulted in their diffusion from the democratic states to kingdoms.

Date: 2019
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