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Voting under the threat of secession: accommodation vs. repression

  • Vincent Anesi


    (University of Nottingham)

  • Philippe De Donder


    (Toulouse School of Economics)

We build a simple model of secession crises where a majority of voters may wish to accommodate the minority in order to prevent a secession attempt. We first show the existence of a majority voting equilibrium, where the median voter is decisive and most prefers a government’s type that is biased in favor of the minority. We then propose a measure of the secession risk at equilibrium and perform the comparative static analysis of the equilibrium policy location and of the secession risk with respect to several parameters: the cultural distinctiveness of the two regions, the relative weight attached by voters to economic (centripetal) -as opposed to (centrifugal) ideological- factors, the relative size of the minority region, the (exogenous) probability that a secession attempt is successful, and the intra-regional heterogeneity of preferences.

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Paper provided by Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB) in its series Working Papers with number 2011/40.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ieb:wpaper:2011/12/doc2011-40
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  1. HAIMANKO, Ori & LE BRETON, Michel & WEBER, Shlomo, 2005. "The stability threshold and two facets of polarization," CORE Discussion Papers 2005035, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. Sanjeev Goyal & Klaas Staal, 2000. "The Political Economy of Regionalism," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 00-014/1, Tinbergen Institute.
  3. Dreze, Jacques & Le Breton, Michel & Weber, Shlomo, 2006. "Rawlsian Pricing of Access to Public Facilities: A Unidimensional Illustration," IDEI Working Papers 409, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  4. Philippe De Donder & Michel Le Breton & Eugenio Peluso, 2012. "On the (sequential) majority choice of public good size and location," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 39(2), pages 457-489, July.
  5. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1995. "On the Number and Size of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Massimo Morelli & Dominic Rohner, 2010. "Natural Resource Distribution and Multiple Forms of Civil War," OxCarre Working Papers 050, Oxford Centre for the Analysis of Resource Rich Economies, University of Oxford.
  7. Hale, Henry E., 2000. "The Parade of Sovereignties: Testing Theories of Secession in the Soviet Setting," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 30(01), pages 31-56, January.
  8. HAIMANKO, Ori & LE BRETON, Michel & WEBER, Shlomo, 2002. "Transfers in a polarized country: bridging the gap between efficiency and stability," CORE Discussion Papers 2002018, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  9. Gradstein, Mark, 2004. "Political Bargaining in a Federation: Buchanan meets Coase," CEPR Discussion Papers 4188, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Anders Olofsgârd, 2004. "Secessions and Political Extremism: Why Regional Referenda Do Not Solve the Problem," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(5), pages 805-832, 09.
  11. Olofsgard, Anders, 2003. "Incentives for secession in the presence of mobile ethnic groups," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 2105-2128, September.
  12. 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.
  13. Michele Ruta, 2005. "Economic Theories of Political (Dis)integration," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(1), pages 1-21, 02.
  14. Gradstein, Mark, 2004. "Political bargaining in a federation: Buchanan meets Coase," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(5), pages 983-999, October.
  15. 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 4.
  16. Le Breton, Michel & Weber, Shlomo, 2003. "The Art of Making Everybody Happy : How to Prevent a Secession," IDEI Working Papers 164, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  17. Enrico Spolaore, 2010. "Federalism, Regional Redistribution and Country Stability," Chapters, in: The Political Economy of Inter-Regional Fiscal Flows, chapter 13 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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