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Growth, political instability, and the defense burden

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  • Stephen Brock Blomberg

Abstract

This paper develops a model to examine the economic effects of political instability and military expenditure. In the model, "kleptocracies" use defense as "imperfect" insurance against the probability of being overthrown. Increasing defense has a secondary effect of augmenting the human capital stock (a spin-off effect). However, defense investment comes at the expense of consuming scarce resources (a crowding out effect). The paper's central contribution is to model each of these effects and their relationship to one another. The resulting theory predicts that the equilibrium is Pareto inefficient and that increased political instability and increased defense can inhibit economic growth. Empirically, increases in political instability are found to decrease growth while increases in defense are found to decrease political instability. The paper also finds that increases in defense have a direct negative effect on growth, although the relation is weak. The weak relation implies the aforementioned crowding out effect is largely mitigated by the spin-off effect.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series International Finance Discussion Papers with number 436.

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Date of creation: 1992
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:436

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Keywords: Defense contracts;

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References

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  1. Rogoff, Kenneth & Sibert, Anne, 1988. "Elections and Macroeconomic Policy Cycles," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(1), pages 1-16, January.
  2. Smith, R P, 1980. "The Demand for Military Expenditure," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(363), pages 811-20, December.
  3. Blanchard, Olivier J, 1985. "Debt, Deficits, and Finite Horizons," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(2), pages 223-47, April.
  4. Lucas, Robert Jr., 1988. "On the mechanics of economic development," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 3-42, July.
  5. Alesina, Alberto, et al, 1996. " Political Instability and Economic Growth," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 189-211, June.
  6. Roubini, Nouriel & Swagel, Phillip & Ozler, Sule & Alesina, Alberto, 1996. "Political Instability and Economic Growth," Scholarly Articles 4553024, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Londregan, J. & Poole, K.T., 1991. "The Seizure of Executive Power and Economic Growth: Some Additional Evidence," GSIA Working Papers 1991-6, Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business.
  8. Smith, Ronald P., 1980. "Military expenditure and investment in OECD countries, 1954-1973," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 19-32, March.
  9. Smith, R P, 1977. "Military Expenditure and Capitalism," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 1(1), pages 61-76, March.
  10. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
  11. Newey, Whitney K., 1987. "Efficient estimation of limited dependent variable models with endogenous explanatory variables," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 231-250, November.
  12. Smith, Ron P, 1978. "Military Expenditure and Capitalism: A Reply," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(3), pages 299-304, September.
  13. Skaperdas, S., 1990. "Conflict And Attitudes Toward Risk," Papers 90-91-05, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
  14. Deger, Saadet, 1986. "Economic Development and Defense Expenditure," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 179-96, October.
  15. Faini, Riccardo & Annez, Patricia & Taylor, Lance, 1984. "Defense Spending, Economic Structure, and Growth: Evidence among Countries and Over Time," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(3), pages 487-98, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Jong-A-Pin, R., 2006. "On the measurement of political instability and its impact on economic growth," Research Report 06C05, University of Groningen, Research Institute SOM (Systems, Organisations and Management).
  2. G. d'Agostino & J.P Dunne & L. Pieroni, 2012. "Government spending, corruption and economic growth," SALDRU Working Papers 74, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit, University of Cape Town.
  3. Asea, Patrick K. & Blomberg, Brock, 1998. "Lending cycles," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1-2), pages 89-128.
  4. Alptekin, Aynur & Levine, Paul, 2010. "Military Expenditure and Economic Growth: A Meta-Analysis," MPRA Paper 28853, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Tatiana Fic & Chetan Ghate, 2004. "The Welfare State, Thresholds, and Economic Growth," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 424, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  6. Michael D. Stroup & Jac C. Heckelman, 2001. "Size Of The Military Sector And Economic Growth: A Panel Data Analysis Of Africa And Latin America," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 0, pages 329-360, November.
  7. S. Brock Blomberg & Gregory D. Hess, 2006. "How Much Does Violence Tax Trade?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 599-612, November.
  8. Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto, 1994. "The Political Economy of Growth: A Critical Survey of the Recent Literature," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 8(3), pages 351-71, September.
  9. Janmaat, John A & Ruijs, Arjan, 2006. "Investing in Arms to Secure Water," MPRA Paper 10667, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  10. Ali Kutan & Su Zhou, 1995. "Sociopolitical instability, volatility, and the bid-ask spread: Evidence from the free market for dollars in Poland," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 225-236, July.

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