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The Economics of Political Borders

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  • Enrico Spolaore

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Enrico Spolaore, 2012. "The Economics of Political Borders," CESifo Working Paper Series 3854, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3854
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    File URL: http://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp3854.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2016. "War and Relatedness," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(5), pages 925-939, December.
    2. 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.
    3. 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 1-4.
    4. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1997. "On the Number and Size of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1027-1056.
    5. Garfinkel, Michelle R., 2004. "Stable alliance formation in distributional conflict," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(4), pages 829-852, November.
    6. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2005. "Borders and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 331-386, December.
    7. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2013. "How Deep Are the Roots of Economic Development?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(2), pages 325-369, June.
    8. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2016. "The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(7), pages 1802-1848, July.
    9. Ellingsen, Tore, 1998. "Externalities vs internalities: a model of political integration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 251-268, May.
    10. Enrico Spolaore & Alberto Alesina & Romain Wacziarg, 2000. "Economic Integration and Political Disintegration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1276-1296, December.
    11. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2009. "The Diffusion of Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 469-529.
    12. repec:cup:apsrev:v:97:y:2003:i:01:p:75-90_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Eric Weese, 2011. "Political Mergers as Coalition Formation," Working Papers 997, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
    14. 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, January.
    15. Klaus Desmet & Michel Breton & Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín & Shlomo Weber, 2011. "The stability and breakup of nations: a quantitative analysis," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 183-213, September.
    16. 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.
    17. Patrick Bolton & Gérard Roland, 1997. "The Breakup of Nations: A Political Economy Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1057-1090.
    18. Alesina, Alberto & Spolaore, Enrico, 2006. "Conflict, defense spending, and the number of nations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 91-120, January.
    19. Enrico Spolaore, 2010. "Federalism, Regional Redistribution and Country Stability," Chapters,in: The Political Economy of Inter-Regional Fiscal Flows, chapter 13 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    20. Donald Wittman, 2000. "The Wealth and Size of Nations," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 44(6), pages 868-884, December.
    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. Alesina, Alberto & Spolaore, Enrico, 2005. "War, peace, and the size of countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(7), pages 1333-1354, July.
    23. repec:ags:afjare:141665 is not listed on IDEAS
    24. Alesina, Alberto & Spolaore, Enrico & Wacziarg, Romain, 2005. "Trade, Growth and the Size of Countries," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 23, pages 1499-1542 Elsevier.
    25. Garfinkel, Michelle R. & Skaperdas, Stergios, 2007. "Economics of Conflict: An Overview," Handbook of Defense Economics, Elsevier.
    26. Enrico Spolaore, 2004. "Economic Integration, International Conflict and Political Unions," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 94(5), pages 3-50, September.
    27. Garfinkel, Michelle R., 2004. "Global threats and the domestic struggle for power," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 495-508, June.
    28. Johannes Münster, 2007. "Simultaneous inter- and intra-group conflicts," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 32(2), pages 333-352, August.
    29. Bordignon, Massimo & Brusco, Sandro, 2001. "Optimal secession rules," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(10), pages 1811-1834, December.
    30. Paolo Mauro, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712.
    31. Enrico Spolaore, 2008. "Civil conflict and secessions," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 9(1), pages 45-63, January.
    32. 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.
    33. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    economies of scale; heterogeneity costs; conflict; size of nations;

    JEL classification:

    • N41 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913

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