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The Economics of Political Borders

  • Enrico Spolaore

This paper presents concepts from economic analysis that shed light on the formation and breakup of sovereign states. First, we discuss the key trade-off between economies of scale in the provision of public goods and political costs from heterogeneity of preferences. Second, we present four economic perspectives on the formation of borders: efficient borders, borders as democratic outcomes, borders in a world of rent-seeking Leviathans, and borders as outcomes of conflict and wars. Finally, we provide an analytical illustration of the basic ideas within a simple framework.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3854.

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Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3854
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  1. Alesina, Alberto & Spolaore, Enrico, 2005. "War, peace, and the size of countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(7), pages 1333-1354, July.
  2. Michalopoulos, Stelios & Papaioannou, Elias, 2013. "The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 162, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  3. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2002. "Borders and Growth," NBER Working Papers 9223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2012. "How Deep are the Roots of Economic Development?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3837, CESifo Group Munich.
  5. Michelle R. Garfinkel, 2003. "Global Threats and the Domestic Struggle for Power," Public Economics 0306001, EconWPA.
  6. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 1997. "Economic Integration and Political Disintegration," NBER Working Papers 6163, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Klaus Desmet & Michel Le Breton & Ignacio Ortuno-Ortin & Shlomo Weber, 2009. "The Stability and Breakup of Nations: A Quantitative Analysis," Vives discussion paper series 10, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfswetenschappen, Vives.
  8. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2012. "Long-Term Barriers to the International Diffusion of Innovations," NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages 11 - 46.
  9. Enrico Spolaore, 2004. "Economic Integration, International Conflict and Political Unions," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 94(5), pages 3-50, September.
  10. Leamer, Edward E., 2012. "The Craft of Economics: Lessons from the Heckscher-Ohlin Framework," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262016877, June.
  11. Spolaore, Enrico & Wacziarg, Romain, 2013. "War and Relatedness," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 140, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
  12. Michelle R. Garfinkel & Stergios Skaperdas, 2006. "Economics of Conflict: An Overview," Working Papers 050623, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics, revised Sep 2006.
  13. Bordignon, Massimo & Brusco, Sandro, 2001. "Optimal secession rules," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(10), pages 1811-1834, December.
  14. Robert P. Inman & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, 2005. "Federalism and the Democratic Transition: Lessons from South Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 39-43, May.
  15. Enrico Spolaore, 2010. "Federalism, Regional Redistribution and Country Stability," Chapters, in: The Political Economy of Inter-Regional Fiscal Flows, chapter 13 Edward Elgar.
  16. Alesina, Alberto & Spolaore, Enrico, 2006. "Conflict, defense spending, and the number of nations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 91-120, January.
  17. Enrico Spolaore, 2007. "Civil Conflict and Secessions," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0705, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  18. repec:oup:qjecon:v:112:y:1997:i:4:p:1027-56 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2003. "Trade, Growth, and the Size of Countries," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1995, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  20. Jack Hirshleifer, 1989. "Conflict and rent-seeking success functions: Ratio vs. difference models of relative success," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 63(2), pages 101-112, November.
  21. 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.
  22. Johannes Münster, 2007. "Simultaneous inter- and intra-group conflicts," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 333-352, August.
  23. Michelle R. Garfinkel, 2003. "Stable Alliance Formation in Distributional Conflict," Public Economics 0305001, EconWPA, revised 16 Jun 2003.
  24. repec:oup:qjecon:v:124:y:2009:i:2:p:469-529 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. repec:ags:afjare:141665 is not listed on IDEAS
  26. 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.
  27. Bolton, Patrick & Roland, Gerard & Spolaore, Enrico, 1996. "Economic theories of the break-up and integration of nations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 697-705, April.
  28. Ellingsen, Tore, 1998. "Externalities vs internalities: a model of political integration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 251-268, May.
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