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On the Number and Size of Nations

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  • Alberto Alesina
  • Enrico Spolaore

Abstract

This paper studies the equilibrium determination of the number of political jurisdictions in different political regimes, democratic or not, and in different economic environments, with more or less economic integration. We focus on the trade off between the benefits of large jurisdictions in terms of economies of scale and the costs of heterogeneity of large and diverse populations. Our model implies that: i) democratization leads to secessions; ii) without an appropriate redistributive scheme (which we characterize) in equilibrium one observes an inefficiently large number of countries; iii) the equilibrium number of countries is increasing in the amount of economic integration. We also study the welfare effects of economic integration and free trade when the number of countries is endogenous.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 5050.

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Date of creation: Mar 1995
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Publication status: published as Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 107, no. 4 (November 1997): 1027-1056.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5050

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  1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-37, October.
  2. Casella, Alessandra & Feinstein, Jonathan, 1991. "Public Goods in Trade: On the Formation of Markets and Political Jurisdictions," CEPR Discussion Papers 511, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Alberto F. Ades & Edward L. Glaeser, 1994. "Trade and Circuses: Explaining Urban Giants," NBER Working Papers 4715, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Easterly, William & Rebelo, Sérgio, 1994. "Fiscal Policy and Economic Growth: An Empirical Investigation," CEPR Discussion Papers 885, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Benabou, Roland, 1993. "Workings of a City: Location, Education, and Production," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 619-52, August.
  6. Paul Krugman, 1990. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," NBER Working Papers 3275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Perotti, Roberto & Spolaore, Enrico & Alesina, Alberto, 1995. "Together or Separately? Issues on the Costs and Benefits of Political and Fiscal Unions," Scholarly Articles 4553017, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. DREZE , Jacques H., 1993. "Regions of Europe : A Feasible Status, to be discussed," CORE Discussion Papers 1993037, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  9. Bolton, Patrick & Roland, Gérard, 1995. "The Break up of Nations: A Political Economy Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 1225, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. repec:fth:louvco:9337 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Epple, Dennis & Romer, Thomas, 1991. "Mobility and Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 828-58, August.
  12. Buchanan, James M & Faith, Roger L, 1987. "Secession and the Limits of Taxation: Toward a Theory of Internal Exit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 1023-31, December.
  13. Brennan,Geoffrey & Buchanan,James M., 2006. "The Power to Tax," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521027922.
  14. Casella, Alessandra, 1992. "On Markets and Clubs: Economic and Political Integration of Regions with Unequal Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 115-21, May.
  15. Friedman, David, 1977. "A Theory of the Size and Shape of Nations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 59-77, February.
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