War, disenfranchisement and the fall of the ancient Athenian democracy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The ancient Athenian democracy emerged in 508 (all dates BCE), became a dominant naval power, fought a multitude of external wars and ended in 322 after it was defeated by Macedon and was replaced by oligarchy. The paper employs a political economy framework to examine the demise of democracy. It illustrates that war was a means of redistribution, benefiting the majority of poorer Athenians at the expense of the rich elite, who bore a disproportionate burden of its cost. A model of conflict is set up to study the incentives of the poor majority to go to war. After analyzing a dynamic setting it also investigates the circumstances when after defeating Athens her enemy chooses to impose oligarchy that disenfranchises the poor. As victory at war is probabilistic it is concluded that the fall of the democracy was neither unavoidable nor inevitable.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages102-117
    JournalEuropean Journal of Political Economy
    Volume38
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015

    Fingerprint

    Athenian Democracy
    Democracy
    Oligarchy
    Enemy
    Costs
    Victory
    Redistribution
    Incentives
    Political Economy
    Burden
    Demise
    Athens
    Elites
    Naval

    Keywords

    • Democracy
    • Ancient Athens
    • redistribution
    • conflict
    • disenfranchisement

    Cite this

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    abstract = "The ancient Athenian democracy emerged in 508 (all dates BCE), became a dominant naval power, fought a multitude of external wars and ended in 322 after it was defeated by Macedon and was replaced by oligarchy. The paper employs a political economy framework to examine the demise of democracy. It illustrates that war was a means of redistribution, benefiting the majority of poorer Athenians at the expense of the rich elite, who bore a disproportionate burden of its cost. A model of conflict is set up to study the incentives of the poor majority to go to war. After analyzing a dynamic setting it also investigates the circumstances when after defeating Athens her enemy chooses to impose oligarchy that disenfranchises the poor. As victory at war is probabilistic it is concluded that the fall of the democracy was neither unavoidable nor inevitable.",
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    War, disenfranchisement and the fall of the ancient Athenian democracy. / Tridimas, George.

    In: European Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 38, 01.06.2015, p. 102-117.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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