Arbitration in classical Athens
The Classical Athenians developed two formal arbitration procedures. They assigned low stakes disputes to a panel of arbitrators, while high stakes cases were handled by a single arbitrator. Given the information aggregation benefit of collective decision making, one would have expected more individuals to be assigned to more important cases. I develop a theoretical model to provide an explanation for their design. Recognizing that arbitrator competence is endogenous, effort put into making a good decision takes time and effort. In larger groups free riding is a concern. Consequently, there exists environments where the free-riding loss is magnified in higher stakes disputes to the point where the socially optimal panel size is inversely related to the stakes involved.
KeywordsArbitration Athens Competence Condorcet Jury Theorem Free riding Group size
JEL ClassificationK4 H1 N44
- Carugati, F., Hadfield, G., & Weingast, B. (2015). Building legal orders in ancient Athens. Journal of Legal Analysis, 10(4), 150–173.Google Scholar
- Fleck, R. K., Hanssen, F. A. (2018). Endogenously determined versus exogenously imposed institutions: The case of tyranny in ancient Greece. Constitutional Political Economy (forthcoming).Google Scholar
- Lyttkens, C. H., Tridimas, G., Lindgren, A. (2018). Making democracy work: An economic perspective on the Graphe Paranomon. Constitutional Political Economy (forthcoming).Google Scholar
- MacDowell, D. M. (1978). The law in classical Athens. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar