Deborah A. Boucoyannis

Assistant Professor of Politics, University of Virginia
Chapter Member: Virginia SSN
Areas of Expertise:

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About Deborah

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.

In the News

Opinion: "The Myth of the Bloated Greek State," Deborah A. Boucoyannis, Foreign Affairs, August 6, 2015.
Opinion: "Taxing the Rich Leads to Representative Government. Happy 800th Birthday, Magna Carta!," Deborah A. Boucoyannis, The Washington Post, June 15, 2015.
Opinion: "Can Taxing the Wealthy Strengthen Democracy?," Deborah A. Boucoyannis, The Washington Post, August 18, 2014.
Opinion: "Adam Smith is Not the Antidote to Thomas Piketty," Deborah A. Boucoyannis, The Washington Post, April 22, 2014.
Opinion: "Correcting Market Inequality," Deborah A. Boucoyannis, Policy Network, April 8, 2014.
Opinion: "Contrary to Popular and Academic Belief, Adam Smith Did Not Accept Inequality as a Necessary Trade-Off for a More Prosperous Economy," Deborah A. Boucoyannis, London School of Economics Blog, February 18, 2014.


"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.
"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 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.