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How to assist separatists in breaking up a country... or, rather, not: The role of decentralization and development assistance

  • Ehrke, Jürgen

The international community is usually set against secessionist movements that threaten to break up existing states. At the same time, many fragmented countries receive development aid, which influences the political process there. The model presented here seeks to answer two questions: “Is decentralization a suitable tool to appease separatist movements and prevent a secession?”, and “Can development policies can be designed in a way that they don’t unwillingly trigger secession as a side effect?”. Using a framework frequently applied in the literature on secession, it turns out (a) that under certain conditions a secession threat can be used by a minority region to gain a higher level of decentralization than the larger part of the country would prefer, and (b) that a secession threat might undermine aid policies that focus directly on poverty reduction or on the improvement of governance, especially where they are not accompanied by (additional) decentralization. – It can be shown that the results are robust to a relaxation of initial simplifications.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 44045.

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Date of creation: 30 Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:44045
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  1. Anesi, Vincent, 2012. "Secessionism and minority protection in an uncertain world," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(1), pages 53-61.
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  4. Vincent Anesi & Philippe De Donder, 2011. "Voting under the threat of secession: accommodation vs. repression," Working Papers 2011/40, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
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  8. 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.
  9. 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).
  10. Robert M. Solow, 1956. "A Contribution to the Theory of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 70(1), pages 65-94.
  11. Hristos Doucouliagos & Martin Paldam, 2009. "The Aid Effectiveness Literature: The Sad Results Of 40 Years Of Research," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(3), pages 433-461, 07.
  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. Klaas Staal, 2010. "Incentives for separation and incentives for public good provision," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 145(3), pages 531-546, December.
  14. Wacziarg, Romain & Alesina, Alberto, 1998. "Openness, Country Size and Government," Scholarly Articles 4553014, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. Hans-Georg Petersen, 2008. "Integration, decentralization, taxation, and revenue sharing : good governance, sustainable fiscal policy and poverty reduction as peace-keeping strategies," Finanzwissenschaftliche Diskussionsbeiträge 57, Universität Potsdam, Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaftliche Fakultät.
  16. Raghuram Rajan & Arvind Subramanian, 2005. "Aid and Growth; What Does the Cross-Country Evidence Really Show?," IMF Working Papers 05/127, International Monetary Fund.
  17. repec:sen:rebelj:v:liv:y:2009:i:1:p:4-22 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Evan Osborne, 2010. "Economic freedom, ethnic separatism, and ethnic conflict," Journal of Developing Areas, Tennessee State University, College of Business, vol. 44(1), pages 367-381, September.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
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