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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. repec:fth:louvco:9337 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. 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).
  3. Bolton, Patrick & Roland, Gérard, 1995. "The Break up of Nations: A Political Economy Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 1225, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Roland Benabou, 1991. "Workings of a City: Location, Education, and Production," NBER Technical Working Papers 0113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. William Easterly & Sergio Rebelo, 1993. "Fiscal Policy and Economic Growth: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 4499, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Brennan,Geoffrey & Buchanan,James M., 1980. "The Power to Tax," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521233293, April.
  9. 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.
  10. Alessandra Casella & Jonathan S. Feinstein, 1990. "Public Goods in Trade: On the Formation of Markets and Political Jurisdictions," NBER Working Papers 3554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Ades, Alberto F & Glaeser, Edward L, 1995. "Trade and Circuses: Explaining Urban Giants," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(1), pages 195-227, February.
  12. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-99, June.
  13. Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto & Spolaore, Enrico, 1995. "Togetheror separately? Issues on the costs and benefits of political and fiscal unions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 751-758, April.
  14. 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.
  15. Epple, Dennis & Romer, Thomas, 1991. "Mobility and Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 828-58, August.
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