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The Stability Threshold and Two Facts of Polarization

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  • Haimanko, Ori
  • Le Breton, Michel
  • Weber, Shlomo
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    Abstract

    In this paper we introduce the notion of stability threshold that quantifies the minimal returns to size sufficient to prevent credible secession threats by regions of the country. Severity of internal tension has been linked to degree of polarization of citizens' preferences and characteristics. We show that the increasing degree of polarization does not, in general, raise the stability threshold, even though this hypothesis holds in some asymptotic sense. Thus, somewhat counter-intuitively, the relation between polarization and the stability threshold is ambiguous. We also examine the question of the number of smaller countries to be created if the unity of the large country is not sustainable, and investigate the link between this number and the degree of the country polarization. We find that the stable number of countries also behaves non-monotonically with respect to polarization indices. However, monotonicity does emerge when the stable number is large, and the stable number decreases when polarization rises.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5098.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5098

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    Keywords: clusters; polarization; secession; stability threshold;

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    References

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    1. Dimitriy Gershenson & Herschel I. Grossman, 1999. "Civil Conflict: Ended Or Never Ending?," Working Papers 99-31, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    2. Duclos, Jean-Yves & Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 2003. "Polarization: Concepts, Measurement, Estimation," Cahiers de recherche 0301, CIRPEE.
    3. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1995. "On the Number and Size of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Esteban, J.M. & Ray, D., 1992. "On the Measurement of Polarization," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 171.92, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
    5. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-21, September.
    6. Michel Le Breton & Shlomo Weber, 2003. "The Art of Making Everybody Happy: How to Prevent a Secession," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 50(3), pages 4.
    7. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2006. "On the Theory of Ethnic Conflict," CEP Discussion Papers dp0732, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    8. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1999. "Conflict and Distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 379-415, August.
    9. Haimanko, Ori & Le Breton, Michel & Weber, Shlomo, 2003. "Transfers in a Polarized Country : Bridging the Gap between Efficiency and Stability," IDEI Working Papers 208, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    10. Wang, You-Qiang & Tsui, Kai-Yuen, 2000. " Polarization Orderings and New Classes of Polarization Indices," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 2(3), pages 349-63.
    11. Le Breton, Michel & Weber, Shlomo, 2003. "The Art of Making Everybody Happy : How to Prevent a Secession," IDEI Working Papers 164, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    12. Haimanko, Ori & Le Breton, Michel & Weber, Shlomo, 2004. "Voluntary formation of communities for the provision of public projects," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 1-34, March.
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