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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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File URL: http://www.iset.ge/files/003-08.pdf
File Function: First version, 2008
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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
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.iset.ge/

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  1. 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.
  2. Alberto Alesina & William Easterly & Janina Matuszeski, 2006. "Artificial States," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2115, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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  4. 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.
  5. 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.
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  7. Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 1999. "Public goods and ethnic divisions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2108, The World Bank.
  8. Desmet, Klaus & Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio & Weber, Shlomo, 2005. "Peripheral Diversity and Redistribution," CEPR Discussion Papers 5112, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. 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.
  10. Giuliano, Paola & Spilimbergo, Antonio & Tonon, Giovanni, 2006. "Genetic, Cultural and Geographical Distances," CEPR Discussion Papers 5807, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1995. "On the Number and Size of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Igal Milchtaich & Eyal Winter, 2000. "Stability and Segregation in Group Formation," Discussion Paper Series dp263, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  13. Victor Ginsburgh & Ignacio Ortuno-Ortin & Shlomo Weber, 2005. "Disenfranchisement in linguistically diverse societies: the case of the European Union," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/1951, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  14. 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.
  15. Bogomolnaia, Anna & Jackson, Matthew O., 2002. "The Stability of Hedonic Coalition Structures," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 201-230, February.
  16. Gans, Joshua S. & Smart, Michael, 1996. "Majority voting with single-crossing preferences," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(2), pages 219-237, February.
  17. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2007. "The Diffusion of Development," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0704, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  18. 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.
  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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