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Outsourcing Military Force: A Transactions Cost Perspective on the Role of Military Companies

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  • Eric Fredland

Abstract

Since the mid-1990s, the operations of private, for profit, military companies have been the subject of increased political and media scrutiny. Firms in this industry provide both combat and support functions to sovereign governments. In this paper, the current and potential future role of these companies is examined from the perspective of transactions cost economics. The transactions cost approach suggests that inevitable contractual hazards sharply limit the combat/combat support role of these companies, despite substantial potential cost savings, even for poor countries with weak governments. However, there is a growing market, even in developed countries, for private provision of training and support.

Suggested Citation

  • Eric Fredland, 2004. "Outsourcing Military Force: A Transactions Cost Perspective on the Role of Military Companies," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(3), pages 205-219.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:defpea:v:15:y:2004:i:3:p:205-219
    DOI: 10.1080/10242690310001623410
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Williamson, Oliver E, 1999. "Public and Private Bureaucracies: A Transaction Cost Economics Perspective," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 306-342, April.
    2. Oliver Hart & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1127-1161.
    3. Holmstrom, Bengt & Milgrom, Paul, 1994. "The Firm as an Incentive System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 972-991, September.
    4. repec:hrv:faseco:30727607 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bennedsen, Morten & Schultz, Christian, 2011. "Arm's length delegation of public services," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 543-552.
    2. MacDonald, Peter, 2013. "Labour substitution and the scope for military outsourcing," MPRA Paper 46688, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Morten Bennedsen & Christian Schultz, 2007. "Arm’s Length Provision of Public Services," CESifo Working Paper Series 2161, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Goel, Rajeev K. & Saunoris, James W., 2014. "Military versus non-military government spending and the shadow economy," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 350-359.
    5. Renaud Bellais & Martial Foucault & Jean-Michel Oudot, 2014. "Économie de la défense," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-01052607, HAL.
    6. Knobel, Alexander & Chokaev, Bekhan & Mironov, Alexey, 2015. "Comparative Analysis of the Effectiveness of Public Spending in the Field of National Defense and Law Enforcement," Published Papers mn47, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Private military companies; Transactions cost economics; Economics of national security; JEL Codes: H11; H56; L24;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War
    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures

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