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Economic Equality And Victory In War: An Empirical Investigation

  • James K. Galbraith
  • Corwin Priest
  • George Purcell

This paper tests a simple hypothesis: that given the occurrence of war between two countries, the country that is more egalitarian at the moment of military decision is likely to emerge the victor. First, we examine cases where comparative economic inequality can be measured directly, using the nearly comprehensive global datasets of the University of Texas Inequality Project for the years 1963-1999. Second, we examine cases where reasonable inferences about comparative economic inequality may be drawn by analogy to UTIP measurements or from other political and economic evidence, including both bi-national wars and larger wars where there existed clear pair-wise fronts. Third, we discuss selected cases where inferences may be drawn from literary or historical sources. We find, all in all, that the evidence for an egalitarian victory proposition is remarkably strong.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Defence and Peace Economics.

Volume (Year): 18 (2007)
Issue (Month): 5 ()
Pages: 431-449

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Handle: RePEc:taf:defpea:v:18:y:2007:i:5:p:431-449
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  1. J. L. Van Zanden, 1995. "Tracing the beginning of the Kuznets curve: western Europe during the early modern period," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 48(4), pages 643-664, November.
  2. Lindert, Peter H. & Williamson, Jeffrey G., 1985. "Growth, equality, and history," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 22(4), pages 341-377, October.
  3. Hirschman, Albert O., 1973. "The changing tolerance for income inequality in the course of economic development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 1(12), pages 29-36, December.
  4. Hirschman, Albert O & Rothschild, Michael, 1973. "The Changing Tolerance for Income Inequality in the Course of Economic Development; with a Mathematical Appendix," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(4), pages 544-66, November.
  5. repec:ucp:bkecon:9780226422534 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Simon Kuznets, 1950. "Shares of Upper Income Groups in Income and Savings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number kuzn50-1, November.
  7. Stuart A. Bremer, 1992. "Dangerous Dyads," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 36(2), pages 309-341, June.
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