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Country size and public good provision

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  • K Staal

Abstract

The paper studies the equilibrium size of countries. Individuals in small countries have greater influence over the nature of political decision making while individuals in large countries have the advantage of more public goods and lower tax rates. The model implies that (i) there exists excessive incentives to separate, though this need not be the case for all sets of secession rules studied; (ii) an exogenous increase in public spending decreases country size; (iii) countries with a presidential-congressional democracy are larger than countries with a parliamentary democracy. Unlike previous papers, a rise in public spending thus does not increase the equilibrium country size, which is consistent with the increase in the size of government and the number of countries observed in the last century. The discussion on secession rules puts the excessive incentives result widely found in the literature in a different perspective, and also has implications for organizations like the European Union.

Suggested Citation

  • K Staal, 2004. "Country size and public good provision," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 156, Econometric Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:ausm04:156
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Tanzi,Vito & Schuknecht,Ludger, 2000. "Public Spending in the 20th Century," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521662918, 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.
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    6. Ellingsen, Tore, 1998. "Externalities vs internalities: a model of political integration," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 251-268, May.
    7. Federico Etro, 2003. "Globalization and Political Geography," CESifo Working Paper Series 986, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Bolton, Patrick & Roland, Gerard & Spolaore, Enrico, 1996. "Economic theories of the break-up and integration of nations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 697-705, April.
    9. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Why Do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(5), pages 997-1032, October.
    10. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2003. "Centralized versus decentralized provision of local public goods: a political economy approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2611-2637, December.
    11. Alessandra Casella & Jonathan S. Feinstein, 2002. "Public Goods in Trade on the Formation of Markets and Jurisdictions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 43(2), pages 437-462, May.
    12. Casella, Alessandra, 1992. "On Markets and Clubs: Economic and Political Integration of Regions with Unequal Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 115-121, May.
    13. Persson, Torsten & Tabellini, Guido, 1996. "Federal Fiscal Constitutions: Risk Sharing and Moral Hazard," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(3), pages 623-646, May.
    14. Alesina, Alberto & Wacziarg, Romain, 1998. "Openness, country size and government," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(3), pages 305-321, September.
    15. Bordignon, Massimo & Brusco, Sandro, 2001. "Optimal secession rules," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(10), pages 1811-1834, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Filippo Gregorini, 2007. "Political Geography and Income Inequalities," DISCE - Quaderni dell'Istituto di Teoria Economica e Metodi Quantitativi itemq0746, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    2. Federico Etro, 2006. "Political geography," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 127(3), pages 321-343, June.
    3. Libman, Alexander Mikhailovich, 2009. "Эндогенные Границы И Распределение Власти В Федерациях И Международных Сообществах
      [ENDOGENOUS BOUNDARIES AND DISTRIBUTION OF POWER In the Federation]
      ," MPRA Paper 16473, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Radax, Wolfgang, 2009. "The number and size of nations revisited: Endogenous border formation with non-uniform population distributions," MPRA Paper 15783, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    country size; public spending; structure of government;

    JEL classification:

    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations

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