National Identity and Public Goods Provision

  • Ani HarutyunyanEmail author


This research investigates the relationship between national identity and public goods provision across a wide range of countries. The analysis shows that national identity, measured based on survey data, and public goods provision, measured by a broad set of indicators, are negatively related. This result is explained through a proposed short-run model on country stability, where the provision of national identity and public goods are substitutable. The findings challenge the conventional wisdom on nation-building as a policy tool for mitigating the adverse effects of fractionalization, suggesting that generally it is used as a tool for governments to divert the attention of its citizens from most pressing issues, such as the provision of elementary public goods.


National identity Public goods Fractionalization Country stability 

JEL Classification

F59 H13 H20 H40 H50 Z10 



I wish to thank anonymous referees, the editor, Klaus Desmet, Ruben Enikolopov, Giacomo De Luca, Gunes Gokmen, Omer Ozak, Jonathan Solis, Maurits van der Veen, and Shlomo Weber for helpful discussions and comments and to the participants of the 2017 NES-HCEO Summer School, 2017 Annual Workshop of the IRES at Chapman University, 2017 Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of Religion, Economics, and Culture (ASREC), VIVES (Research Centre for Regional Economics) seminar at KU Leuven and the 4th Euroacademia International Conference “Identities and Identifications: Politicized Uses of Collective Identities.” All remaining errors are mine


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Copyright information

© Association for Comparative Economic Studies 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of William & MaryWilliamsburgUSA

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