Public munificence for private benefit: Liturgies in classical Athens
Liturgies or public services became less efficient as a source of state revenue in Classical Athens over the democratic period. This is illustrated in a model in which each citizen, knowing his own wealth and the probability distribution of the visible wealth of others, can engage in costly wealth concealment to improve his chances of avoiding a liturgy. Relative to a wealth tax, liturgies are efficient as long as their performers can acquire sufficient private benefits through public munificence. The observed decline in these benefits over the democratic period reduced or eliminated this relative efficiency. (JEL N43, H26, H41).