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Stability of Nations and Genetic Diversity

Author

Listed:
  • Klaus Desmet

    () (Universidad Carlos III, Getafe (Madrid), Spain, and CEPR)

  • Michel Le Breton

    (Universite de Toulouse I, GREMAQ and IDEI, Toulouse, France)

  • Ignacio Ortuno-Ortin

    () (Universidad Carlos III, Getafe (Madrid), Spain)

  • Shlomo Weber

    () (Southern Methodist University, Dallas, USA, CORE, Catholic University of Louvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, and CEPR)

Abstract

This paper presents a model of nations where culturally heterogeneous agents vote on the optimal level of public spending. Larger nations benefit from increasing returns in the provision of public goods, but bear the costs of greater cultural heterogeneity. This tradeoff induces agents' preferences over different geographical configurations, thus determining the likelihood of secession or unification. We provide empirical support for choosing genetic distances as a proxy of cultural heterogeneity and by using data on genetic distances, we examine the stability of the current map of Europe. We then identify the regions prone to secession and the countries that are more likely to merge. Furthermore, we estimate the welfare gains from European Union membership.

Suggested Citation

  • Klaus Desmet & Michel Le Breton & Ignacio Ortuno-Ortin & Shlomo Weber, 2008. "Stability of Nations and Genetic Diversity," Working Papers 003-08, International School of Economics at TSU, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia.
  • Handle: RePEc:tbs:wpaper:08-003
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    File URL: http://www.iset.ge/files/003-08.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2008
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ronald B. Davies & Amélie Guillin, 2014. "How Far Away is an Intangible? Services FDI and Distance," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 37(12), pages 1731-1750, December.
    2. Angeles, Luis, 2012. "Is there a role for genetics in economic development?," SIRE Discussion Papers 2012-08, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    3. Ideen A. Riahi, 2013. "Colonization and Genetics of Comparative Development," Discussion Papers dp13-11, Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, revised 29 Oct 2013.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    nation formation; genetic diversity; cultural heterogeneity; secession; European Union;

    JEL classification:

    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration
    • H40 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - General

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