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Paperback | $30.00 Short | £22.95 | ISBN: 9780262511872 | 272 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 13 illus.| January 2005

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The Size of Nations

About the Authors

Alberto Alesina is Nathaniel Ropes Professor of Political Economics at Harvard University. He is the coauthor (with Enrico Spolaore) of The Size of Nations (MIT Press, 2003).

Enrico Spolaore is is Professor of Economics at Tufts University.


“This book is a tour de force...”—Leonard Dudley, EH.NET
“This intriguing study by two political economists seeks to discover an economic logic behind the size of nations.”—Foreign Affairs


“In this superb and pathbreaking monograph, Alesina and Spolaore convincingly apply the tools of economics to show how economic and political forces influence the breakup and integration of nations in an evolving world. This is a new domain of analysis that will be of utmost importance in the twenty-first century.”
Gérard Roland, Professor of Economics, University of California, Berkeley
“"There are now almost two hundred nations, a number that has more than doubled in the last sixty years. There are likely to be some economies of scale, and country size provides political weight in world affairs, but governments of smaller countries are probably better able to see and provide what their citizens want. Alesina and Spolaore use a number of crisp and clear theoretical models to show how these trade-offs might be played out, in a variety of voting processes, to produce an equilibrium distribution of country sizes. the important and imaginative book blazes trails that many others will follow."”
John f. Helliwell, Professor Emeritus of Economics, University of British Columbia
The Size of Nations exemplifies the best of political economy. It makes simple but incisive arguments about a large, complex, and multifaceted set of phenomena, and then tests these arguments using the best available techniques. The result is a breathtaking combination of analytic acuity and real world importance. The claim that the confluence of globalization, democratization, and the end of the cold war was the perfect incubator for the explosion of nation states in the 1990s is arrestingly powerful. The Size of Nations will long be admired and studied in the social sciences; it will also stimulate considerable debate and further research on its fascinating subject matter.”
Geoffrey Garrett, Vice Provost of the International Institute and Professor of Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles
“This is an extraordinary book that provides a rigourous, fun, and highly original view of what determines the number and size of countries. A must-read for all scholars in the fields of public economics, international economics and international relations.”
Jaume Ventura, CREI and Universitat Pompeu Fabra