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A severed foot is the ultimate stocking stuffer.

Aug 30th 2006

Squiggly Border Theory

This is just fascinating

Some nations are just doomed from the start, often because their borders are not squiggly enough. That’s the conclusion of a recent NBER study by Harvard economists Alberto Alesina and Janina Matuszeski and NYU’s Bill Easterly.

The researchers then set out to find whether artificial states with straight, partitioning borders do any worse than natural states with squiggly borders. The findings? The names of the “most artificial” states according to both the “squiggly” and “partition” measures – Chad, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guatemala, Jordan, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Pakistan, Sudan, and Zimbabwe – should give you a clue (hint: a lot of them show up on FP’s Failed State Index). Yup, less squiggly countries turned out to do worse all around: they are poorer, more prone to unrest, governed poorly, and have higher infant mortality rates.

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