Measuring Institutional Quality in Ancient Athens

Reprint No. 2014:26

Author(s): Andreas Bergh and Carl Hampus LyttkensYear: 2014 Title: Journal of Institutional Economics Volume (No.): 10 (2) Pages: 279–310
Online article (restrictions may apply)

We use the Economic Freedom Index to characterize the institutions of the Athenian city-state in the fourth century BCE. It has been shown that ancient Greece witnessed improved living conditions for an extended period of time. Athens in the fourth century appears to have fared particularly well. We find that economic freedom in ancient Athens is on level with the highest ranked modern economies such as Hong Kong and Singapore. With the exception of the position of women and slaves, Athens scores high in almost every dimension of economic freedom. Trade is probably highly important even by current standards. As studies of contemporary societies suggest that institutional quality is probably an important determinant of economic growth, it may also have been one factor in the relative material success of the Athenians.

Bergh, Andreas and Carl Hampus Lyttkens (2014), "Measuring Institutional Quality in Ancient Athens". Journal of Institutional Economics 10(2), 279–310.

Andreas Bergh


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Sick of Inequality?

An Introduction to the Relationship between Inequality and Health

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In this book Andreas Bergh, Therese Nilsson, IFN and Lund University, and Daniel Waldenström, IFN and Paris School of Economics, France, review the latest research on the relationship between inequality and health. What does inequality mean for our health? Does increasing income inequality affect outcomes such as obesity, life expectancy and subjective well-being?


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