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Economic Integration and Political Disintegration

  • Wacziarg, Romain
  • Spolaore, Enrico
  • Alesina, Alberto

In a world of trade restrictions, large countries enjoy economic benefits, because political boundaries determine the size of the market. Under free trade and global markets even relatively small cultural, linguistic or ethnic groups can benefit from forming small, homogeneous political jurisdictions. This paper provides a formal model of the relationship between openness and the equilibrium number and size of countries, and successfully tests two implications of the model. Firstly, the economic benefits of country size are mediated by the degree of openness to trade. Secondly, the history of nation-state creations and secessions is influenced by the trade regime.

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Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 4553029.

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Date of creation: 2000
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in American Economic Review
Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:4553029
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  1. Rodrik, Dani, 1996. "Why do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1388, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2005. "Borders and Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 331-386, December.
  3. Enrico Spolaore & Alberto Alesina & Romain Wacziarg, 2000. "Economic Integration and Political Disintegration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1276-1296, December.
  4. 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.
  5. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1990. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3541, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Wacziarg, Romain & Alesina, Alberto, 1998. "Openness, Country Size and Government," Scholarly Articles 4553014, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Jeffrey Sachs & Andrew Warner, 1995. "Economic Reform and the Progress of Global Integration," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1733, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  8. Wittman, Donald, 1991. "Nations and States: Mergers and Acquisitions; Dissolutions and Divorce," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(2), pages 126-29, May.
  9. Paul Krugman, 1989. "Is Bilateralism Bad?," NBER Working Papers 2972, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1995. "On the Number and Size of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Barro, Robert J, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-43, May.
  12. Alberto F. Ades & Edward L. Glaeser, 1999. "Evidence On Growth, Increasing Returns, And The Extent Of The Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 1025-1045, August.
  13. David H. Romer & Jeffrey A. Frankel, 1999. "Does Trade Cause Growth?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 379-399, June.
  14. DREZE , Jacques H., 1993. "Regions of Europe : A Feasible Status, to be discussed," CORE Discussion Papers 1993037, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  15. Edwards, Sebastian, 1993. "Openness, Trade Liberalization, and Growth in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 1358-93, September.
  16. Bolton, Patrick & Roland, Gerard, 1997. "The Breakup of Nations: A Political Economy Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1057-90, November.
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