NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Nation Building

Alberto Alesina, Bryony Reich

NBER Working Paper No. 18839
Issued in February 2013
NBER Program(s):   POL

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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This paper was revised on April 30, 2015

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18839

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