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The Political Economy of Conscription

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  • Panu Poutvaara

    ()

  • Andreas Wagener

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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2821.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2821

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Keywords: military draft; public choice; taxation; dynamic costs; fairness;

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References

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  1. Morten I. Lau & Panu Poutvaara & Andreas Wagener, 2004. "Dynamic Costs of the Draft," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 5(4), pages 381-406, November.
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  3. Poutvaara, Panu & Wagener, Andreas, 2007. "To draft or not to draft? Inefficiency, generational incidence, and political economy of military conscription," Munich Reprints in Economics, University of Munich, Department of Economics 19826, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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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, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 9(2), pages 36-43, 07.

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