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Stability of Nations and Genetic Diversity

  • 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)

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.

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Paper provided by International School of Economics at TSU, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia in its series Working Papers with number 003-08.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tbs:wpaper:08-003
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  1. Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William & Alesina, Alberto, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," Scholarly Articles 4551797, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Spolaore, Enrico & Wacziarg, Romain, 2005. "Borders and Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 5202, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Bogomolnaia, Anna & Jackson, Matthew O., 2002. "The Stability of Hedonic Coalition Structures," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 201-230, February.
  4. Milchtaich, Igal & Winter, Eyal, 2002. "Stability and Segregation in Group Formation," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 318-346, February.
  5. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & Caroline Hoxby, 2004. "Political Jurisdictions in Heterogeneous Communities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 348-396, April.
  6. Giuliano, Paola & Spilimbergo, Antonio & Tonon, Giovanni, 2006. "Genetic, Cultural and Geographical Distances," CEPR Discussion Papers 5807, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Tayfun Sönmez & Suryapratim Banerjee & Hideo Konishi, 2001. "Core in a simple coalition formation game," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 18(1), pages 135-153.
  8. Victor Ginsburgh & Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín & Shlomo Weber, 2005. "Disenfranchisement In Linguistically Diverse Societies: The Case Of The European Union," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(4), pages 946-965, 06.
  9. Friend, Irwin & Blume, Marshall E, 1975. "The Demand for Risky Assets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 65(5), pages 900-922, December.
  10. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2007. "The Diffusion of Development," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0704, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  11. DESMET, Klaus & ORTUNO-ORTIN, Ignacio & WEBER, Shlomo, 2005. "Peripheral diversity and redistribution," CORE Discussion Papers 2005044, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  12. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2011. "Cultural Diversity, Geographical Isolation, and the Origin of the Wealth of Nations," NBER Working Papers 17640, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Gans, Joshua S. & Smart, Michael, 1996. "Majority voting with single-crossing preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 219-237, February.
  14. Anna Bogomolnaia & Michel Breton & Alexei Savvateev & Shlomo Weber, 2007. "Stability under unanimous consent, free mobility and core," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 185-204, January.
  15. Alberto Alesina & William Easterly & Janina Matuszeski, 2006. "Artificial States," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2115, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  16. Bolton, Patrick & Roland, Gérard, 1995. "The Break up of Nations: A Political Economy Analysis," CEPR Discussion Papers 1225, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1995. "On the Number and Size of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Jehiel, Philippe & Scotchmer, Suzanne, 2001. "Constitutional Rules of Exclusion in Jurisdiction Formation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(2), pages 393-413, April.
  19. Greenberg, Joseph, 1977. "Existence of an equilibrium with arbitrary tax schemes for financing local public goods," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 137-150, December.
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