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On the Number and Size of Nations

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  • Alberto Alesina
  • Enrico Spolaore

Abstract

This paper studies the equilibrium determination of the number of political jurisdictions in different political regimes, democratic or not, and in different economic environments, with more or less economic integration. We focus on the trade off between the benefits of large jurisdictions in terms of economies of scale and the costs of heterogeneity of large and diverse populations. Our model implies that: i) democratization leads to secessions; ii) without an appropriate redistributive scheme (which we characterize) in equilibrium one observes an inefficiently large number of countries; iii) the equilibrium number of countries is increasing in the amount of economic integration. We also study the welfare effects of economic integration and free trade when the number of countries is endogenous.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1995. "On the Number and Size of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5050
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
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    3. Epple, Dennis & Romer, Thomas, 1991. "Mobility and Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 828-858, August.
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    5. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-499, June.
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    8. Casella, Alessandra, 1992. "On Markets and Clubs: Economic and Political Integration of Regions with Unequal Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(2), pages 115-121, May.
    9. Easterly, William & Rebelo, Sergio, 1993. "Fiscal policy and economic growth: An empirical investigation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 417-458, December.
    10. 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).
    11. Bolton, Patrick & Roland, Gérard, 1995. "The Break up of Nations: A Political Economy Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 1225, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    13. Buchanan, James M & Faith, Roger L, 1987. "Secession and the Limits of Taxation: Toward a Theory of Internal Exit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 1023-1031, December.
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