IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Demand for Arms Imports


  • Ron P. Smith

    (School of Economics Mathematics and Statistics, Birkbeck College, University of London)

  • Ali Tasiran

    (Department of Economics, Göteborg University)


This article presents estimates of demand functions for arms imports for a panel of 52 countries, 1981–99, where there are non-zero observations for both the main measures, WMEAT and SIPRI. In principle, the WMEAT series is a value measure, while the SIPRI series is a volume measure, thus the ratio is a proxy for price. A baseline static log-linear model that makes arms imports a function of this proxy for price, military expenditure and per capita income, is estimated in a variety of ways. This shows significant price effects, with an elasticity around minus one; significant military expenditure effects with an elasticity below one; and no systematic effect of per capita income, though there is some suggestion that richer countries import less for the same level of military expenditure. Thus, there seems to be a relatively well-defined demand function of the form that has been assumed in much of the theoretical work. The article then examines the effects on the results of: measurement error in the proxy for price; choice of estimator; non-linearity; dynamic specification; and possible endogeneity of prices. In general, the results seem robust, though in cross-section there is a non-linearity – arms imports appear to rise and then fall as military expenditure increases – which is not apparent in time-series. The cross-section non-linearity may reflect the long-run effects of the development of domestic arms production capability on imports. However, because good data on arms production capability are not available, this explanation cannot be evaluated. Finally, the article reviews a range of potential criticisms of this approach, and areas for further research are also reviewed.

Suggested Citation

  • Ron P. Smith & Ali Tasiran, 2005. "The Demand for Arms Imports," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 42(2), pages 167-181, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:42:y:2005:i:2:p:167-181

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Vincenzo Bove & Claudio Deiana & Roberto Nistic�, 2018. "Global Arms Trade and Oil Dependence," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(2), pages 272-299.
    2. Paul Dunne & Maria del Carmen Garcia-Alonso & Paul Levine & Ron Smith, 2007. "Determining The Defence Industrial Base," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(3), pages 199-221.
    3. Neha Khanna & Duane Chapman, 2010. "Guns And Oil: An Analysis Of Conventional Weapons Trade In The Post-Cold War Era," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(2), pages 434-459, April.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:42:y:2005:i:2:p:167-181. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publications). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.