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The number and size of nations revisited: Endogenous border formation with non-uniform population distributions

  • Radax, Wolfgang

The endogenous border formation model of Alesina and Spolaore (1997) has received a lot of attention in the economics community. One of its central messages is that in a democratic world in equilibrium there is an ineciently large number of nation states. However, this result is obtained under very specic assumptions like a uniform population distribution and no population mobility. In this paper, I generalize the model of Alesina and Spolaore allowing for population distributions other than the uniform distribution. Since this generalization is accompanied by the loss of tractability in closed form, I calculate the equilibria by means of numerical computation. It turns out that the above-mentioned central result is highly sensitive to the choice of population distribution and that the model shows four different regimes depending on the chosen distribution. Furthermore, the behaviour implied by the Alesina and Spolaore model with uniform population distribution is the exception, not the rule.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 15783.

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Date of creation: 17 Jun 2009
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:15783
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  1. Federico Etro, 2006. "Political geography," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 127(3), pages 321-343, June.
  2. Spolaore, Enrico & Alesina, Alberto, 2006. "Conflict, Defense Spending, and the Number of Nations," Scholarly Articles 4553016, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Alberto Alesina & Ignazio Angeloni & Federico Etro, 2003. "International Unions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2001, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Alesina, Alberto, et al, 2003. " Fractionalization," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 155-94, June.
  5. 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.
  6. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  7. repec:dgr:uvatin:20040026 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Michele Ruta, 2005. "Economic Theories of Political (Dis)integration," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(1), pages 1-21, 02.
  9. Alesina, Alberto & Spolaore, Enrico, 1997. "On the Number and Size of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1027-56, November.
  10. Bolton, Patrick & Roland, Gerard & Spolaore, Enrico, 1996. "Economic theories of the break-up and integration of nations," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 697-705, April.
  11. Alessandra Casella & Jonathan S. Feinstein, 1990. "Public Goods in Trade: On the Formation of Markets and Political Jurisdictions," NBER Working Papers 3554, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Friedman, David, 1977. "A Theory of the Size and Shape of Nations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 59-77, February.
  13. K Staal, 2004. "Country size and public good provision," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 156, Econometric Society.
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