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War Politics: An Economic, Rational-Voter Framework


  • Hess, Gregory D
  • Orphanides, Athanasios


The frequency of foreign conflict initiations in the United States is found to be significantly greater following the onset of recessions during a president's first term than in other periods. The authors develop an economic theory of the political use of wars which links the election cycle, war decisions, and economic performance consistent with the observed relationships among these events. An incumbent leader with an unfavorable economic performance record may initiate a war to force the learning of his war leadership abilities and thus salvage, with some probability, his reelection. This obtains despite voter rationality and informational symmetry. Copyright 1995 by American Economic Association.

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  • Hess, Gregory D & Orphanides, Athanasios, 1995. "War Politics: An Economic, Rational-Voter Framework," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 828-846, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:85:y:1995:i:4:p:828-46

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ostroy, Joseph M., 1980. "The no-surplus condition as a characterization of perfectly competitive equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 183-207, April.
    2. Makowski, Louis & Ostroy, Joseph M., 1987. "Vickrey-Clarke-Groves mechanisms and perfect competition," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 244-261, August.
    3. Vives, Xavier, 1990. "Nash equilibrium with strategic complementarities," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 305-321.
    4. Groves, Theodore, 1973. "Incentives in Teams," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 41(4), pages 617-631, July.
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