Nation Formation and Genetic Diversity

CORE Discussion Paper No. 2006/95

37 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2006

See all articles by Klaus Desmet

Klaus Desmet

Southern Methodist University (SMU); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Michel Le Breton

University of Toulouse I - GREMAQ-IDEI

Ignacio Ortuño Ortín

University of Alicante - Department of Economic Analysis

Shlomo Weber

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - Department of Economics; New Economic School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 2006

Abstract

This paper presents a model of nation formation in which 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 and unification. We provide empirical support for choosing genetic distances as a proxy of cultural heterogeneity. By using data on genetic distances, we examine the stability of the current map of Europe and identify the regions prone to secession and the countries that are more likely to merge. Our framework is further applied to estimate the welfare gains from European Union membership.

Keywords: nation formation, genetic diversity, cultural heterogeneity, secession, unification, European Union

JEL Classification: H77, D70, F02, H40

Suggested Citation

Desmet, Klaus and Le Breton, Michel and Ortuño Ortín, Ignacio and Weber, Shlomo, Nation Formation and Genetic Diversity (October 2006). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=949720 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.949720

Klaus Desmet (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University (SMU) ( email )

6212 Bishop Blvd.
Dallas, TX 75275
United States

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Michel Le Breton

University of Toulouse I - GREMAQ-IDEI ( email )

Manufacture des Tabacs
21 Allees de Brienne
Toulouse, 31000
France

Ignacio Ortuño Ortín

University of Alicante - Department of Economic Analysis ( email )

03080 Alicante
Spain
+34 96 590 3400 (Phone)
+34 96 590 3898 (Fax)

Shlomo Weber

Southern Methodist University (SMU) - Department of Economics ( email )

Dallas, TX 75275
United States
214-768-3577 (Phone)
214-768-1821 (Fax)

New Economic School ( email )

Moscow
Russia
+ 7-495-9569508 (Phone)

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