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Annexation or Conquest? The Economics of Empire Building

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Abstract

This paper develops an economic theory of empire building. This theory addresses the choice among three strategies that empire builders historically have used. We call these strategies Uncoerced Annexation, Coerced Annexation, and Attempted Conquest. The theory shows how the choice among these strategies depends on such factors as the economic gains from imperial expansion, the relative effectiveness of imperial armies, the costs of projecting imperial military power, and liquidity constraints on financing imperial armies. This theory also addresses the scope of imperial ambitions. The paper uses examples from the history of the Roman, Mongol, Ottoman, and Nazi German empires to illustrate the applicability of the theory.

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Paper provided by Brown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2002-15.

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Date of creation: 2002
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Handle: RePEc:bro:econwp:2002-15

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Postal: Department of Economics, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912

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  1. Gershenson, Dmitriy, 2002. "Sanctions and Civil Conflict," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 69(274), pages 185-206, May.
  2. Grossman, Herschel I & Kim, Minseong, 1995. "Swords or Plowshares? A Theory of the Security of Claims to Property," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(6), pages 1275-88, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Cem Karayalcin, 2005. ""Romes without Empires": Primate Cities, Political Competition, and Economic Growth," Working Papers 0510, Florida International University, Department of Economics.
  2. Herschel I. Grossman, 2003. "Choosing Between Peace and War," NBER Working Papers 10180, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Cem Karayalcin, 2005. "Divided We Stand, United We Fall: The Hume-Weber-Jones Mechanism for the Rise of Europe," Working Papers 0509, Florida International University, Department of Economics.
  4. Martin Mcguire, 2002. "Property distribution and configurations of sovereign states: A rational economic model," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(4), pages 251-270.
  5. Libman, Alexander Mikhailovich, 2009. "Эндогенные Границы И Распределение Власти В Федерациях И Международных Сообществах
    [ENDOGENOUS BOUNDARIES AND DISTRIBUTION O
    ," MPRA Paper 16473, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Martin C. McGuire, 2010. "Economic Analysis and International Security," Public Policy Review, Policy Research Institute, Ministry of Finance Japan, vol. 6(2), pages 313-346, March.

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