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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. Hoxby, Caroline & Baqir, Reza & Alesina, Alberto, 2004. "Political Jurisdictions in Heterogeneous Communities," Scholarly Articles 4552532, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. BOGOMOLNAIA, Anna & LE BRETON, Michel & SAVVATEEV, Alexei & WEBER, Shlomo, . "Stability under unanimous consent, free mobility and core," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1929, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. GINSBURGH, Victor & ORTUNO-ORTIN, Ignacio & WEBER, Shlomo, 2004. "Disenfranchisement in linguistically diverse societies. The case of the European Union," CORE Discussion Papers 2004080, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
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  6. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1995. "On the Number and Size of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Giuliano, Paola & Spilimbergo, Antonio & Tonon, Giovanni, 2006. "Genetic, Cultural and Geographical Distances," IZA Discussion Papers 2229, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods And Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284, November.
  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. 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).
  11. 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.
  12. Milchtaich, Igal & Winter, Eyal, 2002. "Stability and Segregation in Group Formation," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 318-346, February.
  13. 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.
  14. Bogomolnaia, Anna & Jackson, Matthew O., 2002. "The Stability of Hedonic Coalition Structures," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 201-230, February.
  15. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2002. "Borders and Growth," NBER Working Papers 9223, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2007. "The Diffusion of Development," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0704, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  17. 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.
  18. Gans, Joshua S. & Smart, Michael, 1996. "Majority voting with single-crossing preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 219-237, February.
  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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