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Conscription: economic costs and political allure

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  • Panu Poutvaara

    (University of Helsinki)

  • Andreas Wagener

    (University of Hanover)

Abstract

Since 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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File URL: http://www.epsjournal.org.uk/abs/Vol2/No1/eps_v2n1_Poutvaara_Wagener.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Article 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)
Pages: 6-15

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Handle: RePEc:uwe:journl:v:2:y:2006:i:1:p:6-15

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Related research

Keywords: conscription; economic costs;

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Cited by:
  1. Poutvaara, Panu & Wagener, Andreas, 2009. "The Political Economy of Conscription," IZA Discussion Papers 4429, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. 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.
  3. Antonis Adam, 2012. "Military conscription as a means of stabilizing democratic regimes," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(3), pages 715-730, March.
  4. Brauer, Jurgen & Caruso, Raul, 2011. "Peace economists and peace economics," MPRA Paper 34927, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. 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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