Voting under the Threat of Secession: Accommodation vs. Repression

Vincent Anesi, and Philippe De Donder


We build a simple model of secession crises where a majority of voters may wish to accommodate a minority in order to prevent a secession attempt. We first show the existence of a majority voting equilibrium, where the median voter is decisive and most prefers a government’s type that is biased in favor of the minority. We propose a measure of the secession risk at equilibrium, which depends upon the comparison of the willingness to secede by the minority and to accommodate by the majority. We show that focusing only on the willingness to secede, as previous literature has done, is misleading when studying the impact on the risk of secession of the size of the minority region, the probability that a secession attempt by the minority is successful, and the cultural heterogeneity in the country.

See also

Published in

Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 41, n. 2, July 2013, pp. 241–261