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Tradeoffs of Inclusion: Development in Ancient Athens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-170
Number of pages27
Issue number1

King's Authors


Inclusive institutions play an important role in development. But how do inclusive institutions emerge? Inclusion is always the product of a tradeoff. The existing literature focuses on the tradeoffs that yield an extension of the franchise, which requires costly power-sharing agreements. This article uses evidence from ancient Athens to show that meaningful forms of welfare-enhancing inclusion need not await the historically infrequent and high-stakes conditions that compel dominant elites to share power. In the 4th century BCE, the Athenians extended access to economic, social, and legal institutions to selected categories of non-citizens. They did not, however, extend the franchise. The Athenian tradeoff between political and other forms of inclusion was a response to the conflicting demands of social order and growth. While falling short of full political inclusion, the tradeoff was nonetheless conducive to political and economic development.

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