Boucoyannis works on the historical foundations of liberalism and democracy, with a special focus on the origins of European political institutions. Her work sheds light on the role of the state, taxation, inequality and of judicial structures in the creation of liberal, constitutional orders. She also works on the theoretical foundations of liberalism, offering in particular a reconsideration of assumptions about inequality.
"The Balance of Power: The International Wanderings of a Liberal Idea" Perspectives on Politics 57, no. 4 (2007): 703-727.
Questions the widespread association of the idea of a balance of power with realist and conservative approaches to international relations and world affairs. Recommends a more “realist” understanding of liberalism, consonant with the foundations of the liberal political order, especially as exemplified in the Federalist Papers.
"The Equalization of Wealth in the Market Economy: What Adam Smith Expected from the 'System of Natural Liberty'" Perspectives on Politics 11, no. 4 (December 2013): 1051-1070.
Challenges the conventional assumption that classical liberalism (and, by implication, the market economy) necessarily imply high levels of inequality as a trade-off for greater prosperity for all; shows how more equal distributions of wealth should be expected if Smith’s system was properly applied.
"The Eumenes Paradox: Fiscal Ties and the Origins of Representative Government," University of Virginia, May 31, 2014.
Shows the role of high rates of taxation on the top income groups in consolidating parliamentary institutions in early English history.
In the News
"Taxing the Rich Leads to Representative Government. Happy 800th Birthday, Magna Carta!," Deborah Boucoyannis, The Washington Post, June 15, 2015.
"Contrary to Popular and Academic Belief, Adam Smith Did Not Accept Inequality as a Necessary Trade-Off for a More Prosperous Economy," Deborah Boucoyannis, British Politics and Policy, London School of Economics Blog, February 18, 2014.
"Adam Smith is Not the Antidote to Thomas Piketty," Deborah Boucoyannis, Monkey Cage, The Washington Post, April 22, 2014.