Artificial States

38 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2006  

Alberto F. Alesina

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

William Easterly

New York University - Department of Economics

Janina Matuszeski

Harvard University - Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

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Date Written: March 2006

Abstract

Artifical states are those in which political borders do not coincide with a division of nationalities desired by the people on the ground. We propose and compute for all countries in the world two new measures of the degree to which states are artificial. One is based on measuring how borders split ethnic groups into two separate adjacent countries. The other measures how straight land borders are, under the assumption the straight land borders are more likely to be artificial. We then show that these two measures seem to be highly correlated with several measures of political and economic success.

Suggested Citation

Alesina, Alberto F. and Easterly, William and Matuszeski, Janina, Artificial States (March 2006). Harvard Institute of Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 2115; Center for Global Development Working Paper No. 100. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=890593 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.890593

Alberto F. Alesina (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-8388 (Phone)
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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
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William Easterly

New York University - Department of Economics ( email )

269 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10003
United States

Janina Matuszeski

Harvard University - Faculty of Arts and Sciences ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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