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European Political Boundaries as the Outcome of a Self-Organizing Process

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  • Eric Weese

    (Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University)

Abstract

Political economy theories predict certain configurations of national boundaries, but these have not been calculated because of computational difficulties. Taking advantage of advances in mixed integer programming algorithms, we compute predicted political boundaries for Europe using a simple theoretical model taken from the literature: the size and arrangement of countries is determined by a tradeoff between efficiencies of scale and geographic heterogeneity. The model shows that the gnatural borders h that lead to states emerging in certain configurations do not need to be particularly extreme, and a small number of these geographic features can influence the configuration of boundaries over a larger area. Our results show how real-world political boundaries can be described by a simple one parameter theoretical model that ignores many of the proximate causes of boundary changes.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric Weese, 2016. "European Political Boundaries as the Outcome of a Self-Organizing Process," Discussion Papers 1629, Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University.
  • Handle: RePEc:koe:wpaper:1629
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    File URL: http://www.econ.kobe-u.ac.jp/RePEc/koe/wpaper/2016/1629.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. repec:hrv:faseco:4553034 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Stelios Michalopoulos, 2012. "The Origins of Ethnolinguistic Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1508-1539, June.
    4. Eric Weese, 2015. "Political mergers as coalition formation: An analysis of the Heisei municipal amalgamations," Quantitative Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 6(2), pages 257-307, July.
    5. Drèze, Jacques & Le Breton, Michel & Savvateev, Alexei & Weber, Shlomo, 2008. ""Almost" subsidy-free spatial pricing in a multi-dimensional setting," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 143(1), pages 275-291, November.
    6. Eric Weese & Masayoshi Hayashi & Masashi Nishikawa, 2015. "Inefficiency and Self-Determination: Simulation-based Evidence from Meiji Japan," Discussion Paper Series DP2015-35, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
    7. Bogomolnaia, Anna & Jackson, Matthew O., 2002. "The Stability of Hedonic Coalition Structures," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 201-230, February.
    8. Cremer, Helmuth & De Kerchove, Anne-Marie & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 1985. "An economic theory of public facilities in space," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 9(3), pages 249-262, June.
    9. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & Caroline Hoxby, 2004. "Political Jurisdictions in Heterogeneous Communities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 348-396, April.
    10. Klaus Desmet & Michel Breton & Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín & Shlomo Weber, 2011. "The stability and breakup of nations: a quantitative analysis," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 16(3), pages 183-213, September.
    11. Brasington, David M., 1999. "Joint provision of public goods: the consolidation of school districts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(3), pages 373-393, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eric Weese & Masayoshi Hayashi & Masashi Nishikawa, 2015. "Inefficiency and Self-Determination: Simulation-based Evidence from Meiji Japan," Discussion Paper Series DP2015-35, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.

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