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Nation Building

  • Alberto Alesina
  • Bryony Reich

Nations stay together when citizens share enough values and preferences and can communicate with each other. Homogeneity amongst people can be built with education, teaching a common language, building infrastructure for easier travel, but also by brute force such as prohibiting local cultures or even genocide. Democracies and dictatorships have different incentives when it comes to choosing how much and by what means to homogenize the population. We study and compare both regimes, and the transition from dictatorship to democracy, in a model where the size of countries and the degree of active homogenization is endogenous. We offer some historical discussions of several episodes which illustrate our theoretical results.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18839.

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Date of creation: Feb 2013
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18839
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  1. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 1997. "Economic Integration and Political Disintegration," NBER Working Papers 6163, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Besley, Timothy J. & Persson, Torsten, 2011. "Fragile States and Development Policy," CEPR Discussion Papers 8285, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  4. Casey B. Mulligan & Xavier Sala-i-Martin & Ricard Gil, 2003. "Do Democracies Have Different Public Policies than Nondemocracies?," NBER Working Papers 10040, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Samuel Bowles, 1998. "Endogenous Preferences: The Cultural Consequences of Markets and Other Economic Institutions," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 75-111, March.
  6. Philippe Aghion & Torsten Persson & Dorothee Rouzet, 2012. "Education and Military Rivalry," NBER Working Papers 18049, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Alberto Alesina & Johann Harnoss & Hillel Rapoport, 2013. "Birthplace Diversity and Economic Prosperity," NBER Working Papers 18699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Nicola Gennaioli & Ilia Rainer, 2007. "The modern impact of precolonial centralization in Africa," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 185-234, September.
  9. Oriol Aspachs-Bracons & Irma Clots-Figueras & Joan Costa-Font & Paolo Masella, 2008. "Compulsory Language Educational Policies and Identity Formation," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 434-444, 04-05.
  10. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2000. "Why Did The West Extend The Franchise? Democracy, Inequality, And Growth In Historical Perspective," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(4), pages 1167-1199, November.
  11. John R. Lott, Jr., 1987. "Why Is Education Publicly Provided? A Critical Survey," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 7(2), pages 475-501, Fall.
  12. Alesina, Alberto & Glaeser, Edward, 2005. "Fighting Poverty in the US and Europe: A World of Difference," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199286102, March.
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