NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Bryony Reich

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Working Papers

May 2017Nation-Building, Nationalism and Wars
with Alberto Alesina, Alessandro Riboni: w23435
The increase in army size observed in early modern times changed the way states conducted wars. Starting in the late 18th century, states switched from mercenaries to a mass army by conscription. In order for the population to accept to fight and endure war, the government elites began to provide public goods, reduced rent extraction and adopted policies to homogenize the population with nation-building. This paper explores a variety of ways in which nation-building can be implemented and studies its effects as a function of technological innovation in warfare.
February 2013Nation Building
with Alberto Alesina: w18839
Nations stay together when citizens share enough values and preferences and can communicate with each other. Homogeneity amongst people can be built with education, teaching a common language, building infrastructure for easier travel, but also by brute force such as prohibiting local cultures or even genocide. Democracies and dictatorships have different incentives when it comes to choosing how much and by what means to homogenize the population. We study and compare both regimes, and the transition from dictatorship to democracy, in a model where the size of countries and the degree of active homogenization is endogenous. We offer some historical discussions of several episodes which illustrate our theoretical results.

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