Regional Resources and Democratic Secessionism

ETH Zurich CIS Working Paper No. 100

108 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2016 Last revised: 30 Aug 2018

Kai Gehring

University of Zurich - Chair of Political Economy; University of Heidelberg

Stephan A. Schneider

ETH Zürich - KOF Swiss Economic Institute

Date Written: August 20, 2018

Abstract

Although regional resources have been shown to influence secessionist conflicts in developing countries, their effect in established democracies has largely been neglected. We integrate resource value in a model on the optimal size of nations and show that regional wealth correlates positively with secessionist party success in a large panel of regions. To establish causality, our difference-in-differences and triple-differences designs exploit that Scotland and Wales both feature separatist parties, but only an independent Scotland would profit from oil discoveries off its coast. We document an economically and statistically significant positive effect of regional resources and rule out plausible alternative explanations.

Keywords: Secession, Separatism, Size of Nations, Resources, Nationalism, Economic Voting

JEL Classification: H77, N9

Suggested Citation

Gehring, Kai and Schneider, Stephan, Regional Resources and Democratic Secessionism (August 20, 2018). ETH Zurich CIS Working Paper No. 100. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2862023 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2862023

Kai Gehring (Contact Author)

University of Zurich - Chair of Political Economy ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland
+4917620916056 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.kai-gehring.net

University of Heidelberg ( email )

Grabengasse 1
Heidelberg, 69117
Germany

Stephan Schneider

ETH Zürich - KOF Swiss Economic Institute ( email )

Switzerland

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