Enrico Spolaore

Enrico Spolaore is is Professor of Economics at Tufts University.

  • The Size of Nations

    The Size of Nations

    Alberto Alesina and Enrico Spolaore

    The 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.

    • Hardcover $8.75 £6.99
    • Paperback $30.00 £25.00


  • Disrupted Economic Relationships

    Disrupted Economic Relationships

    Disasters, Sanctions, Dissolutions

    Tibor Besedeš and Volker Nitsch

    Empirical studies and theoretical analyses examine the causes and consequences of disruptions in cross-border economic relationships, including political conflict, economic sanctions, and institutional collapse.

    Cross-border economic relationships gradually strengthened in the decades after World War II; for most of the postwar period, international trade and investment have grown faster than output, a process often termed “globalization.” In recent years, however, economic relationships have grown more fragile, subject to disruption by such factors as political conflict, economic sanctions, and the dissolution of institutional arrangements. This timely CESifo volume offers empirical studies and theoretical analyses that examine the causes and consequences of these disrupted economic relationships.

    Contributors propose a new theoretical framework for understanding the economic impact of intergroup conflict and develop a predictive model to analyze the contagion of regional wars. They offer empirical studies of the economic effect of targeted sanctions and boycotts, including those imposed upon Iran, Russia, and Myanmar; argue provocatively that natural disasters are associated with increased international trade; analyze trade duration, finding previously identified explanatory factors to be insufficient for explaining variations in trade survival over time; and critically review the hypothesis that oil was a crucial factor in the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    Contributors Daniel P. Ahn, Tibor Besedeš, Kilian Heilmann, Wolfgang Hess, Julian Hinz, Melise Jaud, Tristan Kohl, Madina Kukenova, Chenmei Li, Rodney D. Ludema, Volker Nitsch, Maria Persson, Chiel Klein Reesink, Arthur Silve, Enrico Spolaore, Martin Strieborny, Marvin Suesse, Peter A. G. van Bergeijk, Thierry Verdier, Romain Wacziarg

    • Hardcover $40.00 £32.00
  • Complexity and Evolution

    Complexity and Evolution

    Toward a New Synthesis for Economics

    David S. Wilson and Alan Kirman

    An exploration of how approaches that draw on evolutionary theory and complexity science can advance our understanding of economics.

    Two widely heralded yet contested approaches to economics have emerged in recent years: one emphasizes evolutionary theory in terms of individuals and institutions; the other views economies as complex adaptive systems. In this book, leading scholars examine these two bodies of theory, exploring their possible impact on economics. Relevant concepts from evolutionary theory drawn on by the contributors include the distinction between proximate and ultimate causation, multilevel selection, cultural change as an evolutionary process, and human psychology as a product of gene-culture coevolution. Applicable ideas from complexity theory include self-organization, fractals, chaos theory, sensitive dependence, basins of attraction, and path dependence.

    The contributors discuss a synthesis of complexity and evolutionary approaches and the challenges that emerge. Focusing on evolutionary behavioral economics, and the evolution of institutions, they offer practical applications and point to avenues for future research.

    Contributors Robert Axtell, Jenna Bednar, Eric D. Beinhocker, Adrian V. Bell, Terence C. Burnham, Julia Chelen, David Colander, Iain D. Couzin, Thomas E. Currie, Joshua M. Epstein, Daniel Fricke, Herbert Gintis, Paul W. Glimcher, John Gowdy, Thorsten Hens, Michael E. Hochberg, Alan Kirman, Robert Kurzban, Leonhard Lades, Stephen E. G. Lea, John E. Mayfield, Mariana Mazzucato, Kevin McCabe, John F. Padgett, Scott E. Page, Karthik Panchanathan, Peter J. Richerson, Peter Schuster, Georg Schwesinger, Rajiv Sethi, Enrico Spolaore, Sven Steinmo, Miriam Teschl, Peter Turchin, Jeroen C. J. M. van den Bergh, Sander E. van der Leeuw, Romain Wacziarg, John J. Wallis, David S. Wilson, Ulrich Witt

    • Hardcover $50.00 £40.00