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Nation Formation and Genetic Diversity

  • Desmet, Klaus
  • Le Breton, Michel
  • Ortuño-Ortín, 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 C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5918.

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Date of creation: Nov 2006
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5918
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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Spolaore, Enrico & Wacziarg, Romain, 2006. "The Diffusion of Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 5630, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Desmet, Klaus & Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio & Weber, Shlomo, 2005. "Peripheral Diversity and Redistribution," CEPR Discussion Papers 5112, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Milchtaich, Igal & Winter, Eyal, 2002. "Stability and Segregation in Group Formation," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 318-346, February.
  6. Alberto Alesina & William Easterly & Janina Matuszeski, 2006. "Artificial States," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2115, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  7. GINSBURGH, Victor & ORTUNO-ORTIN, Ignatio & WEBER, Shlomo, "undated". "Disenfranchisement in linguistically diverse societies: the case of the European Union," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1773, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  8. 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).
  9. 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.
  10. Axelrod, Robert & Bennett, D. Scott, 1993. "A Landscape Theory of Aggregation," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(02), pages 211-233, April.
  11. Spolaore, Enrico & Wacziarg, Romain, 2005. "Borders and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 5202, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Tayfun Sönmez & Suryapratim Banerjee & Hideo Konishi, 2001. "Core in a simple coalition formation game," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 18(1), pages 135-153.
  13. Le Breton, M. & Weber, S., 1995. "Stability of Coalition Structures and the Principle of Optimal Partitioning," G.R.E.Q.A.M. 95a06, Universite Aix-Marseille III.
  14. Dreze, J.H. & Greenberg, J., "undated". "Hedonic coalitions: optimality and stability," CORE Discussion Papers RP 403, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  15. Giuliano, Paola & Spilimbergo, Antonio & Tonon, Giovanni, 2006. "Genetic, Cultural and Geographical Distances," IZA Discussion Papers 2229, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  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. Stefano G. Athanasoulis & Robert J. Shiller, 2001. "World Income Components: Measuring and Exploiting Risk-Sharing Opportunities," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 1031-1054, September.
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  20. Maurice Salles, 2005. "Social Choice," Post-Print halshs-00337075, HAL.
  21. Bogomolnaia, Anna & Jackson, Matthew O., 2002. "The Stability of Hedonic Coalition Structures," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 201-230, February.
  22. Gans, Joshua S. & Smart, Michael, 1996. "Majority voting with single-crossing preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 219-237, February.
  23. 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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