The Size of Nations
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Size of Nations by Alberto Alesina
Book DescriptionThe authors of this timely and provocative book use the tools of economic analysis to examine the formation and change of political borders. They argue that while these issues have always been at the core of historical analysis, international economists have tended to regard the size of a country as "exogenous," or no more subject to explanation than the location of a mountain range or the course of a river. Alesina and Spolaore consider a country's borders to be subject to the same analysis as any other man-made institution. In The Size of Nations, they argue that the optimal size of a country is determined by a cost-benefit trade-off between the benefits of size and the costs of heterogeneity. In a large country, per capita costs may be low, but the heterogeneous preferences of a large population make it hard to deliver services and formulate policy. Smaller countries may find it easier to respond to citizen preferences in a democratic way. Alesina and Spolaore substantiate their analysis with simple analytical models that show how the patterns of globalization, international conflict, and democratization of the last two hundred years can explain patterns of state formation. Their aim is not only "normative" but also "positive" -- that is, not only to compute the optimal size of a state in theory but also to explain the phenomenon of country size in reality. They argue that the complexity of real world conditions does not preclude a systematic analysis, and that such an analysis, synthesizing economics, political science, and history, can help us understand real world events.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780262511872
(229mm x 152mm x 19mm)
Imprint: MIT Press
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Publish Date: 8-Feb-2005
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Alberto Alesina
Fiscal Policy After the Financial Crisis, Hardback (July 2013)
Focuses on the effects of fiscal stimuli and increased government spending, with contributions that consider the measurement of the multiplier effect and its size. This title also includes contributions discuss the merits of alternate means of debt reduction through decreased government spending or increased taxes.
Europe and the Euro, Hardback (April 2010)
Looks at the effects of the euro on reform of goods and labor markets; its influence on business cycles and trade among members; and, whether the single currency has induced convergence or divergence in the economic performance of member countries. This title focuses on both the first ten years of the euro and the workings of a monetary union.
Future of Europe, Paperback (October 2008)
A provocative argument that unless Europe takes serious action soon, its economic and political decline is unavoidable, and a clear statement of the steps Europe must take before it's too late.
Fighting Poverty in the US and Europe, Paperback (November 2005)» View all books by Alberto Alesina
Presenting a study of different approaches of America and Europe to the problems of domestic inequality and poverty, this book describes how different the two continents are in the level of State engagement in the redistribution of income. It discusses various economic and sociological explanations for the difference, including various attitudes.
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Author Biography - Alberto Alesina
Enrico Spolaore is is Professor of Economics at Tufts University.
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