Publications by Type: Working Paper

Alesina, Alberto, and Bryony Reich. 2015. “Nation Building”. Abstract

Nations stay together when citizens share enough values and preferences and can communicate with each other. Homogeneity amongst people can be built with education, teaching a common language to facilitate communication, but also by brute force such as prohibiting local cultures. Democracies and non-democracies have different incentives when it comes to choosing how much and by what means to homogenize the population. We study and we compare both regimes in a model where the size of countries and the degree of active homogenization in endogenous. We also offer some historical discussions of cases which illustrate our theoretical results.


NBER WP 18839

Alesina, Alberto, and Veronique de Rugy. 2013. “Austerity:The Relative Effects of Tax Increases versus Spending Cuts”. Download paper
Mercatus Center Working Paper
Alesina, Alberto, and Joseph Zeira. 2009. “Technology and Labor Regulations”.

NBER Working Paper No. 12581

Alesina, Alberto, and Richard Holden. 2008. “Extremism and Ambiguities in Two-Candidate Elections”. Abstract

We analyze a model in which voters are uncertain about the policy preferences of candidates. Two forces affect the probability of electoral success: proximity to the median voter and campaign contributions. First, we show how campaign contributions affect elections. Then we show how the candidates may wish to announce a range of policy preferences, rather than a single point. This strategic ambiguity balances voter beliefs about the appeal of candidates both to the median voter and to the campaign contributors. If primaries precede a general election, they add another incentive for ambiguity, because in the primaries, the candidates do not want to reveal too much information, to maintain some freedom of movement in the policy space for the general election. Ambiguity has an option value.


NBER Working Paper No. 14143

Alesina, Alberto, and Paola Giuliano. 2006. “Divorce, Fertility and the Shot Gun Marriage”. Abstract
Easier divorce has two effects on marriage rates and fertility. It dilutes the value of marriage, therefore reducing marriage rates and marital fertility and potentially increasing out of wedlock fertility. But easier divorce reduces also the commitment cost of marriage leading women to “try” marriage especially when in child bearing age or even already pregnant. We find that total fertility and out-of-wedlock fertility decline after the introduction of unilateral divorce. Women planning to have children marry more easily with an easier “exit option” from marriage. Thus, more children are born in the first years of marriage, while marital fertility does not change, probably as a result of an increase in divorce and marital instability. Therefore we find strong evidence consistent with the “commitment effect”

NBER Working Paper No. 12375

Alesina, Alberto, and Tamin Bayoumi. 1996. “The Costs and Benefits of Fiscal Rules: Evidence from U.S. States”.

NBER Working Paper No. 5614

Alesina, Alberto, and Philippe Weil. 1992. “Menus of Linear Income Tax Schedules”.

NBER Working Paper No. 3968

Alesina, Alberto, Morris Fiorina, and Howard Rosenthal. 1991. “Why Are There So Many Divided Senate Delegations?”.

NBER Working Paper No. 3663


International Monetary Fund Working Paper