Conscription: economic costs and political allure
AbstractSince Adam Smith, most economists have held that a professional army is superior to a conscript army, thanks to benefitting from comparative advantage and specialization. We summarize recent literature on the benefits and costs of the military draft, with special emphasis on its dynamic effects on human capital formation. Empirical evidence refutes the claim that the economic costs of the draft would be balanced by increased democratic control or reduced likelihood of war. Rather, the political allure of conscription seems to arise from the possibility to concentrate the tax burden on a minority of voters in a way that is generally held to be unacceptable with normal taxation.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Economists for Peace and Security (UK) in its journal Economics of Peace and Security Journal.
Volume (Year): 2 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
conscription; economic costs;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances
- H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War
- O1 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
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- Panu Poutvaara & Andreas Wagener, 2011. "Ending Military Conscription," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 9(2), pages 36-43, 07.
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- Yew-Kwang Ng, 2008. "Why is the Military Draft Common? Conscription and Increasing Returns," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 9(2), pages 373-384, November.
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