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Nation Formation and Genetic Diversity

Author

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  • Desmet, Klaus
  • Le Breton, Michel
  • Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio
  • Weber, Shlomo

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Desmet, Klaus & Le Breton, Michel & Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio & Weber, Shlomo, 2006. "Nation Formation and Genetic Diversity," CEPR Discussion Papers 5918, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5918
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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, June.
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    Cited by:

    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, 2009. "National Borders, Conflict and Peace," CESifo Working Paper Series 2860, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2013. "The 'Out of Africa' Hypothesis, Human Genetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 1-46, February.
    4. Collado, M. Dolores & Ortuño Ortin, Ignacio & Romeu, Andrés, 2008. "Vertical Transmission of Consumption Behavior and the Distribution of Surnames," UMUFAE Economics Working Papers 2651, DIGITUM. Universidad de Murcia.
    5. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2009. "Cultural Biases in Economic Exchange?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1095-1131.
    6. Maystre, Nicolas & Olivier, Jacques & Thoenig, Mathias & Verdier, Thierry, 2014. "Product-based cultural change: Is the village global?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(2), pages 212-230.
    7. Maria Cubel, 2010. "Fiscal equalization and political conflict," Working Papers 2010/9, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    8. Dimitrov, Dinko & Lazarova, Emiliya, 2011. "Two-sided coalitional matchings," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 46-54, July.
    9. Ashraf, Quamrul & Galor, Oded, 2008. "Human Genetic Diversity and Comparative Economic Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 6824, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. repec:eee:deveco:v:127:y:2017:i:c:p:449-458 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Kyle L. Marquardt & Yoshiko M. Herrera, 2015. "Ethnicity as a Variable: An Assessment of Measures and Data Sets of Ethnicity and Related Identities," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 96(3), pages 689-716, September.
    12. Elisenda Paluzie, 2010. "The Costs and Benefits of Staying Together: The Catalan Case in Spain," Chapters,in: The Political Economy of Inter-Regional Fiscal Flows, chapter 14 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    cultural heterogeneity; European Union; genetic diversity; nation formation; secession; unification;

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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