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Ostracism, the removal of a political leader from ancient Athens for a period of ten years without any additional financial sanction or other punishment, was an important and rather unique institutional aspect of the direct democracy. The present study explains the adoption of ostracism as the utility maximizing choice of a self–interested constitutional writer—cum—political actor to resolve violent political conflict and illustrates that it acted as a type of negative referendum on politicians. Using notions from game theory and spatial decision modeling, the paper goes on to attribute the infrequent use of ostracism to its two-stage decision making process wherein the decisive voter of the first stage differed from the decisive voter of the second stage.
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- Conflict, democracy and voter choice: a public choice analysis of the Athenian ostracism
- Springer US
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