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The Stability Threshold and Two Facts of Polarization

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

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.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5098.

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Date of creation: Jun 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5098
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  1. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Political Jurisdictions in Heterogeneous Communities," NBER Working Papers 7859, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Grossman, Herschel I, 1991. "A General Equilibrium Model of Insurrections," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(4), pages 912-21, September.
  3. Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William & Alesina, Alberto, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," Scholarly Articles 4551797, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. repec:hrv:faseco:4553034 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Esteban, J. & Ray, D., 1993. "On the Measurement of Polarization," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 221.93, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  7. HAIMANKO, Ori & LE BRETON, Michel & WEBER, Shlomo, 2002. "Transfers in a polarized country: bridging the gap between efficiency and stability," CORE Discussion Papers 2002018, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  8. Dimitriy Gershenson & Herschel I. Grossman, 1999. "Civil Conflict: Ended Or Never Ending?," Working Papers 99-31, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  9. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman, 2013. "On the theory of ethnic conflict," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 50242, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  10. Haimanko, Ori & Le Breton, Michel & Weber, Shlomo, 2003. "Voluntary Formation of Communities for the Provision of Public Projects," IDEI Working Papers 169, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  11. 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 4.
  12. Francesco Caselli, 2007. "On the theory of ethnic conflict," 2007 Meeting Papers 162, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1995. "On the Number and Size of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1999. "Conflict and Distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 379-415, August.
  15. Duclos, Jean-Yves & Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 2003. "Polarization: Concepts, Measurement, Estimation," Cahiers de recherche 0301, CIRPEE.
  16. 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 349-63.
  17. 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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