Enrico Spolaore

Enrico Spolaore
Tufts University | Tufts · Department of Economics

Ph.D., Economics (Harvard)

About

52
Publications
6,584
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Introduction
Enrico Spolaore is a Professor of Economics at Tufts and a Research Associate at the NBER. His main research interests are in political economy, growth and development, and international economics.
Skills and Expertise
Additional affiliations
September 2004 - present
Tufts University
Description
  • Professor of Economics
Education
September 1989 - June 1993
Harvard University
Field of study
  • Economics

Publications

Publications (52)
Article
We investigate the determinants of the fertility decline in Europe from 1830 to 1970 using a newly constructed dataset of linguistic distances between European regions. The decline resulted from the gradual diffusion of new fertility behavior from French-speaking regions to the rest of Europe. Societies with higher education, lower infant mortality...
Article
We revisit the relationship between ancestral distance and barriers to the diffusion of development by replicating previous results with a new genomic dataset on human microsatellite variation. We find a statistically and economically significant effect of ancestral distance from the technological frontier on income per capita. The historical patte...
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This chapter explores the fundamental drivers of economic development and political institutions. It provides a novel empirical analysis of the determinants of institutional differences and the diffusion of institutional innovations across societies. A critical discussion of the recent literature is presented, documenting how economic and political...
Chapter
Populations that share a more recent common ancestry exchange goods, capital, innovations and technologies more intensively, but they also tend to fight more with each other.1 Why does ancestral distance matter for these outcomes? In this chapter, we argue that when populations split apart and diverge over the long span of history their cultural tr...
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What obstacles prevent the most productive technologies from spreading to less developed economies from the world's technological frontier? In this paper, we seek to shed light on this question by quantifying the geographic and human barriers to the transmission of technologies. We argue that the intergenerational transmission of human traits, part...
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Europe's monetary union is part of a broader process of integration that started in the aftermath of World War II. In this “political guide for economists,” we look at the creation of the euro within the bigger picture of European integration. How and why were European institutions established? What is European integration really about? We address...
Article
This paper presents concepts from economic analysis that shed light on the formation and breakup of sovereign states. First, we discuss the key trade-off between economies of scale in the provision of public goods and political costs from heterogeneity of preferences. Second, we present four economic perspectives on the formation of borders: effici...
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The empirical literature on economic growth and development has moved from the study of proximate determinants to the analysis of ever deeper, more fundamental factors, rooted in long-term history. A growing body of new empirical work focuses on the measurement and estimation of the effects of historical variables on contemporary income by explicit...
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This article analyzes the formation of states to provide public goods including but not limited to security. The analysis views national borders as arising endogenously, with the decision makers balancing a trade-off between the benefits of economies of scale in the provision of defense against external threats and the costs arising from greater he...
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We develop a theory of interstate conflict in which the degree of genealogical relatedness between populations has a positive effect on their conflict propensities because more closely related populations, on average, tend to interact more and develop more disputes over sets of common issues. We examine the empirical relationship between the occurr...
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It is a pleasure and an honor to give this lecture at the opening of VIVES. It is quite fit that a new center for the study of regional economics and institutions has been created at the Catholic University of Leuven, which has a long and distinguished tradition in those areas of research. And this is an especially appropriate time to study such im...
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This paper studies secessions as the outcome of conflict between regions. We study under what conditions regions will divert costly resources to fight each other over political borders. We derive the probability of secession and the amount of resources diverted to separatist conflict, and show how those variables depend on factors such as heterogen...
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This paper summarizes a talk Enrico Spolaore gave at the inaugural lecture of the VIVES centre. Key questions addressed are (1) what explains existing national borders and their changes? (stability of national borders). (2) Are national borders and their changes “optimal” or “suboptimal”? (efficiency of national borders) and (3) how are the “effici...
Article
This article provides a brief review of some ideas and results from the political economy literature on the size of nations. It determines the benefits and costs of national size, and then presents a simple analytical framework for understanding several basic issues about the formation and break-up of nations. Compensations, redistribution, income...
Chapter
Herschel I. Grossman was born in Philadelphia on 6 March 1939. He obtained a BA from the University of Virginia in 1960, a B.Phil. from Oxford in 1962, and a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins in 1965. He joined Brown University’s economics faculty in 1964. He died suddenly while attending a conference in Marseilles on 9 October 2004.
Chapter
The economics approach to the size of nations proceeds from the trade-off between benefits and costs of larger size. Benefits of scale come from sharing public goods among more taxpayers. Larger countries can also better internalize cross-regional externalities and insure against regional shocks. But a larger size brings about higher heterogeneity...
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Full-text available
In recent decades a large number of new sovereign states has been created through secessions, decolonization and breakup of existing countries. Since 1990 the Soviet Union split into fifteen independent countries, Yugoslavia gave away to six sovereign states (not counting Kosovo), Czechoslavakia broke into two separate states, Eritrea seceded from...
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We find that genetic distance, a measure associated with the time elapsed since two populations' last common ancestors, has a statistically and economically significant effect on income differences across countries, even controlling for measures of geographical distance, climatic differences, transportation costs, and measures of historical, religi...
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This paper provides a formal model of endogenous border formation and choice of defense spending in a world with international conflict. We examine both the case of democratic governments and of dictatorships. The model is consistent with three observations. First, breakup of countries should follow a reduction in the likelihood of international co...
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This paper presents a framework to understand and measure the effects of political borders on economic growth and per capita income levels. We present a model providing a theoretical foundation to estimate empirically the effects of political borders on growth. In our model, political integration between two countries results in a positive country...
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This paper provides an empirical study of the determinants of voting equipment choice in the United States. We document that, in contrast to widespread belief, voting machines of older types, such as lever and punchcard systems, are not used in counties with lower income – and newer machines, such as optical scanners and electronic machines, are no...
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The number of sovereign states has steadily increased over the past few decades and is rapidly approaching two hundred. Many of these countries are small. The median country size in terms of population is around five million people. Tuvalu, the smallest state with a seat at the United Nations, has 11,000 people. The smallest country in the sample s...
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This paper develops a model in which agents have a conflict of interest over what instrument to use for policy adjustment in response to shocks. Three different government systems are analyzed: cabinet systems, in which one decision-maker has full control over adjustment policies; consensus systems, in which adjustment policies must be agreed upon...
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This article studies the interactions among economic integration, international conflict, and the formation and breakup of political unions. Economic integration reduces the importance of political size, while international conflict increases it. When international conflict reduces economic integration between politically separate units, multiple e...
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Normally, economists take the size of countries as an exogenous variable. Nevertheless, the borders of countries and their size change, partially in response to economic factors such as the pattern of international trade. Conversely, the size of countries influences their economic performance and their preferences for international economic policie...
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Normally, economists take the size of countries as an exogenous variable which does need to be explained. Nevertheless, the borders of countries and therefore their size change, partially in response to economic factors such as the pattern of international trade. Conversely, the size of countries influences their economic performance and their pref...
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In a world of trade restrictions, large countries enjoy economic benefits, because political boundaries determine the size of the market. Under free trade and global markets even relatively small cultural, linguistic or ethnic groups can benefit from forming small, homogeneous political jurisdictions. This paper provides a formal model of the relat...
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This paper studies the relationship between international conflict and the size distribution of countries in a model in which both peaceful bargaining and nonpeaceful confrontations are possible. We show how the size distribution of countries depends on the likelihood, benefits, and costs of conflict and war. We also study the role of international...
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This paper presents a framework for the evaluation and measurement of “reversal” and “origin independence” as separate aspects of economic mobility. We show that evaluation depends on aversion to multi-period inequality, aversion to inter-temporal fluctuations, and aversion to future risk. We construct “extended Atkinson indices” that allow us to q...
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This paper studies the equilibrium determination of the number of countries in different political regimes, and in different economic environments, with more or less economic integration. We focus on the trade-off between the benefits of large jurisdictions and the costs of heterogeneity of large and diverse populations. Our model implies that (i)...
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Full-text available
This paper provides a formal model of endogenous country formation and of choice of defense spending in a world with international conflict. The model is consistent with three observations. First, secessions and, more generally, break-up of countries should follow a reduction in the likelihood of international conflict. Second, the number of region...
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This paper surveys the recent political economy literature on the size distribution of nations. The main themes of this literature are: 1.(a) the spread of democracy leads to the creation of too many sovereign states;2.(b) the extent of factor mobility plays a key role in determining the incentives towards separation or integration;3.(c) economic i...
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Around the world one observes a tendency toward political separatism. The economic literature generally (but not always) emphasizes several benefits of large fiscal (and, therefore, political) jurisdictions. In this paper we discuss several politico-economic arguments which reconcile this tension between “normative” economic models and empirical ob...
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When parties with different preferences compete for election, strategic manipulation of state variables for electoral purposes can occur even with rational voters. This paper presents a model in which government resources can be used ‘productivity’, for the benefit of everybody, or ‘unproductively’, for the benefit of the ruling party's constituenc...
Article
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Harvard University, 1993. Includes bibliographical references.

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