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The Stability Threshold and Two Facts of Polarization

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  • Haimanko, Ori
  • Le Breton, Michel
  • Weber, Shlomo

Abstract

In this paper we introduce the notion of stability threshold that quantifies the minimal returns to size sufficient to prevent credible secession threats by regions of the country. Severity of internal tension has been linked to degree of polarization of citizens' preferences and characteristics. We show that the increasing degree of polarization does not, in general, raise the stability threshold, even though this hypothesis holds in some asymptotic sense. Thus, somewhat counter-intuitively, the relation between polarization and the stability threshold is ambiguous. We also examine the question of the number of smaller countries to be created if the unity of the large country is not sustainable, and investigate the link between this number and the degree of the country polarization. We find that the stable number of countries also behaves non-monotonically with respect to polarization indices. However, monotonicity does emerge when the stable number is large, and the stable number decreases when polarization rises.

Suggested Citation

  • Haimanko, Ori & Le Breton, Michel & Weber, Shlomo, 2005. "The Stability Threshold and Two Facts of Polarization," CEPR Discussion Papers 5098, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5098
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Haimanko, Ori & Le Breton, Michel & Weber, Shlomo, 2004. "Voluntary formation of communities for the provision of public projects," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 1-34, March.
    2. 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.
    3. Jean-Yves Duclos & Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2004. "Polarization: Concepts, Measurement, Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(6), pages 1737-1772, November.
    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. Wang, You-Qiang & Tsui, Kai-Yuen, 2000. " Polarization Orderings and New Classes of Polarization Indices," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 2(3), pages 349-363.
    6. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2013. "On The Theory Of Ethnic Conflict," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11, pages 161-192, January.
    7. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1999. "Conflict and Distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 379-415, August.
    8. repec:hrv:faseco:4553034 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & Caroline Hoxby, 2004. "Political Jurisdictions in Heterogeneous Communities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 348-396, April.
    10. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1994. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 819-851, July.
    11. Dimitriy Gershenson & Herschel I. Grossman, 1999. "Civil Conflict: Ended Or Never Ending?," Working Papers 99-31, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    12. Haimanko, Ori & Le Breton, Michel & Weber, Shlomo, 2005. "Transfers in a polarized country: bridging the gap between efficiency and stability," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(7), pages 1277-1303, July.
    13. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rodriguez-Pose, Andres & Stermsek, Marko, 2014. "The Economics of Secession – Analysing the economic impact of the collapse of the former Yugoslavia," CEPR Discussion Papers 10134, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Roy, Sunanda & Wu, Kuan Chuen & Chandra, Abhijit, 2015. "Uncovering the "Will of the People": Measuring Preference Polarization among Voters," Staff General Research Papers Archive 38358, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    3. Vincent Anesi & Philippe De Donder, 2013. "Voting under the threat of secession: accommodation versus repression," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 41(2), pages 241-261, July.
    4. Vincent Anesi & Philippe De Donder, 2011. "Voting under the Threat of Secession: Accommodation vs. Repression," CESifo Working Paper Series 3458, CESifo Group Munich.
    5. Matthias Dahm, 2010. "Free mobility and taste-homogeneity of jurisdiction structures," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 39(1), pages 259-272, March.
    6. Hudson Meadwell, 2011. "Spatial models of secession-proofness and equilibrium size," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 45(3), pages 641-652, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    clusters; polarization; secession; stability threshold;

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General

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