Monday, July 24, 2006
Can "Artificial" Countries Be Successful Ones? Bad Empirical News for Canadian Patriots
Examining empirical evidence that contradicts your biases is good for the soul, if not the blood pressure. As a proud Canadian (but one who recognizes the justice of Lucien Bouchard's complaint that we are not a "real" country), I have always had a soft spot for "artificial" multi-ethnic states. Via the New York Times, though, I was confronted by a study by Alberto Alesina, William Easterley and Janina Matuszeski that purports to measure how artificial (i.e., not conforming to historic ethnic boundaries) a state is, and then shows that artificiality correlates with all kinds of bad stuff. Partitionists everywhere will be interested particularly in the result that more "natural" states recover better from war.