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Nation formation and genetic diversity

  • DESMET, Klaus
  • LE BRETON, Michel
  • ORTUNO-ORTIN, Ignacio
  • WEBER, Shlomo

This paper presents a model of nation formation in which culturally heterogeneous agents vote on the optimal level of public spending. Larger nations benefit from increasing returns in the provision of public goods, but bear the costs of greater cultural heterogeneity. This tradeoff induces agents? preferences over different geographical configurations, thus determining the likelihood of secession and unification. We provide empirical support for choosing genetic distances as a proxy of cultural heterogeneity. By using data on genetic distances, we examine the stability of the current map of Europe and identify the regions prone to secession and the countries that are more likely to merge. Our framework is further applied to estimate the welfare gains from European Union membership.

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Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE) in its series CORE Discussion Papers with number 2006095.

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Date of creation: 00 Oct 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2006095
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  1. Giuliano, Paola & Spilimbergo, Antonio & Tonon, Giovanni, 2006. "Genetic, Cultural and Geographical Distances," CEPR Discussion Papers 5807, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2002. "Borders and Growth," NBER Working Papers 9223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2009. "Cultural Biases in Economic Exchange?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1095-1131, August.
  5. DESMET, Klaus & ORTUNO-ORTIN, Ignacio & WEBER, Shlomo, 2005. "Peripheral diversity and redistribution," CORE Discussion Papers 2005044, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  6. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1995. "On the Number and Size of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Wacziarg, Romain & Spolaore, Enrico, 2006. "The Diffusion of Development," Research Papers 1898r1, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  8. Dreze, J.H. & Greenberg, J., . "Hedonic coalitions: optimality and stability," CORE Discussion Papers RP -403, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  9. Igal Milchtaich & Eyal Winter, 2000. "Stability and Segregation in Group Formation," Discussion Paper Series dp263, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  10. Victor Ginsburgh & Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín & Shlomo Weber, 2005. "Disenfranchisement In Linguistically Diverse Societies: The Case Of The European Union," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(4), pages 946-965, 06.
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  12. Campbell, John Y., 1999. "Asset prices, consumption, and the business cycle," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 19, pages 1231-1303 Elsevier.
  13. William Easterly & Alberto Alesina & Janina Matuszeski, 2006. "Artificial States," Working Papers 100, Center for Global Development.
  14. Breton, M. le & Weber, S., 1992. "Stability of Coalition Structures and the Principle of Optimal Partitioning," Papers 93-6, York (Canada) - Department of Economics.
  15. Suryapratim Banerjee & Hideo Konishi & Tayfun Sonmez, 1999. "Core in a Simple Coalition Formation Game," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 449, Boston College Department of Economics.
  16. Bogomolnaia, Anna & Jackson, Matthew O., 2002. "The Stability of Hedonic Coalition Structures," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 201-230, February.
  17. Andrés Romeu & M. Dolores Collado & Ignacio Ortuño Ortín, 2006. "Vertical Transmission Of Consumption Behavior And The Distribution Of Surnames," Working Papers. Serie AD 2006-09, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  18. Stefano G. Athanasoulis & Robert J. Shiller, 1999. "World Income Components: Measuring and Exploiting Risk-Sharing Opportunities," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1239, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  19. Gans, Joshua S. & Smart, Michael, 1996. "Majority voting with single-crossing preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 219-237, February.
  20. Friend, Irwin & Blume, Marshall E, 1975. "The Demand for Risky Assets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 900-922, December.
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