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Nation Formation and Genetic Diversity

  • Desmet, Klaus
  • Le Breton, Michel
  • Ortuno-Ortin, Ignacio

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 Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse in its series IDEI Working Papers with number 133.

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Date of creation: Sep 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:6450
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  1. Bogomolnaia, Anna & Jackson, Matthew O., 2002. "The Stability of Hedonic Coalition Structures," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 201-230, February.
  2. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2006. "The Diffusion of Development," NBER Working Papers 12153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Dreze, J H & Greenberg, J, 1980. "Hedonic Coalitions: Optimality and Stability," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 987-1003, May.
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  5. Alberto Alesina & William Easterly & Janina Matuszeski, 2006. "Artificial States," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2115, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  6. GINSBURGH, Victor & ORTUNO-ORTIN, Ignacio & WEBER, Shlomo, 2004. "Disenfranchisement in linguistically diverse societies. The case of the European Union," CORE Discussion Papers 2004080, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  7. 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.
  8. repec:rus:hseeco:71039 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Igal Milchtaich & Eyal Winter, 2000. "Stability and Segregation in Group Formation," Discussion Paper Series dp263, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  10. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2007. "Cultural Biases in Economic Exchange?," Economics Working Papers ECO2007/42, European University Institute.
  11. Friend, Irwin & Blume, Marshall E, 1975. "The Demand for Risky Assets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 900-922, December.
  12. Spolaore, Enrico & Wacziarg, Romain, 2005. "Borders and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 5202, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. John Y. Campbell, 1998. "Asset Prices, Consumption, and the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 6485, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. 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.
  15. Gans, Joshua S. & Smart, Michael, 1996. "Majority voting with single-crossing preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 219-237, February.
  16. 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.
  17. Giuliano, Paola & Spilimbergo, Antonio & Tonon, Giovanni, 2006. "Genetic, Cultural and Geographical Distances," IZA Discussion Papers 2229, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  18. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1995. "On the Number and Size of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Desmet, Klaus & Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio & Weber, Shlomo, 2005. "Peripheral Diversity and Redistribution," CEPR Discussion Papers 5112, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  20. Suryapratim Banerjee & Hideo Konishi & Tayfun Sonmez, 1999. "Core in a Simple Coalition Formation Game," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 449, Boston College Department of Economics.
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