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The political economy of conscription

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  • Poutvaara, Panu
  • Wagener, Andreas

Abstract

Though in decline recently, military conscription is still a widely used mode of staffing armies. Since not many valid economic, social or military arguments in favor of the draft can be put forward, the question emerges why societies choose to rely on it. In this survey we explain the political allure of military conscription by its specific intra- and intergenerational incidence as a tax. From a public choice perspective, there is always a vast majority of people in favor of the introduction and maintenance of military draft, as compared to a professional army. Empirical evidence for this conclusion appears to be mixed, however. Political preferences with respect to conscription involve concerns about its unfairness and questionable record on social accounts. Special interests may also matter.

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This chapter was published in: Poutvaara, Panu & Wagener, Andreas , , pages , .

This item is provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Chapters in Economics with number 19807.

Handle: RePEc:lmu:muench:19807

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References

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  1. Robert H. Bates & Avner Greif & Margaret Levi & Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, 1998. "Analytic Narratives," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 6355.
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  3. Panu Poutvaara & Andreas Wagener, 2005. "To Draft or not to Draft? Efficiency, Generational Incidence, and Political Economy of Military Conscription," CESifo Working Paper Series 1454, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Imbens, G. & Van Der Klaauw, W., 1993. "Evaluating the Cost of Conscription in the Netherlands," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1632, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Keller, Katarina & Poutvaara, Panu & Wagener, Andreas, 2006. "Military Draft and Economic Growth in OECD Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 2022, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  7. Casey B. Mulligan, 2005. "Conscription as Regulation," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 85-111.
  8. Panu Poutvaara & Andreas Wagener, 2007. "Conscription: economic costs and political allure," Economics of Peace and Security Journal, Economists for Peace and Security (UK), vol. 2(1), pages 6-15, January.
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  16. Morten I. Lau & Panu Poutvaara & Andreas Wagener, 2004. "Dynamic Costs of the Draft," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 5(4), pages 381-406, November.
  17. Thomas Lemieux & David Card, 2001. "Going to College to Avoid the Draft: The Unintended Legacy of the Vietnam War," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 97-102, May.
  18. Gordon, Roger H. & Bai, Chong-En & Li, David D., 1999. "Efficiency losses from tax distortions vs. government control," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(4-6), pages 1095-1103, April.
  19. Lokshin, Michael & Yemtsov, Ruslan, 2005. "Who bears the cost of Russia's military draft?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3547, The World Bank.
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  22. John Warner & Sebastian Negrusa, 2005. "Evasion costs and the theory Of conscription," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(2), pages 83-100.
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Cited by:
  1. 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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