The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. With nearly 300 released each year, working papers cover a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
In this paper we consider a model of the country with heterogeneous population and examine compensation schemes that may prevent a threat of secession by dissatisfied regions. We show that horizontal imbalances are combatable with secession-proof compensation schemes that entail a degree of partial equalization: the disadvantageous regions should be subsidized but the burden on advantageous regions should not be too excessive. In the case of uniform distribution, we establish the 50-percent compensation rule for disadvantageous regions. Thus, we argue for a limited gap reduction between advantageous and disadvantageous regions and show that neither laissez faire nor Rawlsian allocation is secession-proof.