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Political Jurisdictions in Heterogeneous Communities

  • Alberto Alesina
  • Reza Baqir
  • Caroline Hoxby

We investigate whether political jurisdictions form in response to the trade-off between economies of scale and the costs of a heterogeneous population. We consider heterogeneity in income, race, ethnicity, and religion, and we test the model using American school districts, school attendance areas, municipalities, and special districts. We find strong evidence of a trade-off between economies of scale and racial heterogeneity; we also find evidence of a trade-off between economies of scale and income heterogeneity. Conversely, we find little evidence that ethnic or religious heterogeneity shapes jurisdictions. To clarify the direction of causality between heterogeneity and jurisdictions, we exploit shocks to racial heterogeneity generated by the two world wars.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Political Economy.

Volume (Year): 112 (2004)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 348-396

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:112:y:2004:i:2:p:348-396
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  1. Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 1999. "Public goods and ethnic divisions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2108, The World Bank.
  2. Erzo F.P. Luttmer, 1999. "Group Loyalty and the Taste for Redistribution," Working Papers 9902, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  3. Epple, Dennis & Platt, Glenn J., 1998. "Equilibrium and Local Redistribution in an Urban Economy when Households Differ in both Preferences and Incomes," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 23-51, January.
  4. Cutler, David M & Glaeser, Edward L, 1997. "Are Ghettos Good or Bad?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(3), pages 827-72, August.
  5. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, . "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," Working Papers 151, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  6. Bolton, Patrick & Roland, Gerard, 1997. "The Breakup of Nations: A Political Economy Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1057-90, November.
  7. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1995. "On the Number and Size of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. James M. Poterba, 1997. "Demographic structure and the political economy of public education," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 16(1), pages 48-66.
  9. Caroline Minter Hoxby, 1994. "Does Competition Among Public Schools Benefit Students and Taxpayers?," NBER Working Papers 4979, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Marianne Bertrand & Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2000. "Network Effects And Welfare Cultures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 1019-1055, August.
  11. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 455-506, June.
  12. Glaeser, Edward L. & Scheinkman, JoseA. & Shleifer, Andrei, 1995. "Economic growth in a cross-section of cities," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 117-143, August.
  13. Wacziarg, Romain & Spolaore, Enrico & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Economic Integration and Political Disintegration," Scholarly Articles 4553029, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," Scholarly Articles 4551796, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 1998. "Human Capital and Social Capital: The Rise of Secondary Schooling in America, 1910 to 1940," NBER Working Papers 6439, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416.
  17. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521338257 is not listed on IDEAS
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