A Political Economy Perspective of Direct Democracy in Ancient Athens

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    Abstract

    Using a political economy framework the paper argues that in ancient Athens direct democracy, absence of political parties and appointment to office by lot were inextricably linked. Direct rather than representative democracy was in the interest of the constitutional framer at the time of the transition to democracy. Deciding directly each policy issue under majority rule diminished the intermediation function of political parties, a tendency possibly reinforced by an integrative ideology of defending the polis. In the absence of political parties to fight elections and distribute rents from office, appointment of office-holders by lot randomized their selection, a process which yielded an accurate representation of individual preferences, and distributed rents irrespective of the private wealth of individual citizens.
    LanguageEnglish
    JournalConstitutional Political Economy
    Volume22
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Fingerprint

    direct democracy
    political economy
    rent
    majority rule
    representative democracy
    ideology
    election
    democracy
    citizen

    Keywords

    • Ancient Athens
    • direct democracy
    • majority voting
    • political parties
    • appointment to office by lot
    • Cleisthenes reforms

    Cite this

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    title = "A Political Economy Perspective of Direct Democracy in Ancient Athens",
    abstract = "Using a political economy framework the paper argues that in ancient Athens direct democracy, absence of political parties and appointment to office by lot were inextricably linked. Direct rather than representative democracy was in the interest of the constitutional framer at the time of the transition to democracy. Deciding directly each policy issue under majority rule diminished the intermediation function of political parties, a tendency possibly reinforced by an integrative ideology of defending the polis. In the absence of political parties to fight elections and distribute rents from office, appointment of office-holders by lot randomized their selection, a process which yielded an accurate representation of individual preferences, and distributed rents irrespective of the private wealth of individual citizens.",
    keywords = "Ancient Athens, direct democracy, majority voting, political parties, appointment to office by lot, Cleisthenes reforms",
    author = "George Tridimas",
    year = "2011",
    doi = "10.1007/s10602-010-9093-5",
    language = "English",
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    journal = "Constitutional Political Economy",
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    AB - Using a political economy framework the paper argues that in ancient Athens direct democracy, absence of political parties and appointment to office by lot were inextricably linked. Direct rather than representative democracy was in the interest of the constitutional framer at the time of the transition to democracy. Deciding directly each policy issue under majority rule diminished the intermediation function of political parties, a tendency possibly reinforced by an integrative ideology of defending the polis. In the absence of political parties to fight elections and distribute rents from office, appointment of office-holders by lot randomized their selection, a process which yielded an accurate representation of individual preferences, and distributed rents irrespective of the private wealth of individual citizens.

    KW - Ancient Athens

    KW - direct democracy

    KW - majority voting

    KW - political parties

    KW - appointment to office by lot

    KW - Cleisthenes reforms

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