Origins of Early Democracy

American Political Science Review Vol/Iss. 114(2) American Political Science Association Published In Pages: 502-518
By Ahmed, Ali T., Stasavage, David


This study seeks to examine the potential catalysts for democratic behavior in human societies. After creating a theoretical model to demonstrate that council governance is beneficial to executives in situations in which there were information asymmetries between executives and the populace, the authors decide to examine this empirically by using "caloric variability" as a potential cause of information asymmetry. The results indicate that higher caloric variability leads to a greater likelihood of council governance. Further empirical results indicate that caloric potential may be associated with higher levels of political integration, and that bureaucracy may act as a substitute for councils.

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