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Soldiers or Bureaucrats?Conflict and the Military’s Role in Policy-Making

  • Gabriel Leon

One of the most striking institutional features of many less developed countries is that their militaries are closely involved in policy-making, potentially having a large impact on economic outcomes. This paper examines the role of the military in setting policy. For this purpose it develops one of the first models of the military, where its political involvement can take two forms: direct when the military runs the government, and indirect when it influences policy without governing directly. We focus on civilian regimes and find that war decreases the payoff to the military from both forms of involvement, but also makes staging successful coups easier. In equilibrium, an increase in the likelihood of war makes indirect involvement less likely; its impact on coups, which are aimed at establishing direct control, is non-monotonic. We show empirical evidence for this non-monotonic relationship, withcoups being least likely for low and high probabilities of war.

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File URL: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/eopp/eopp12.pdf
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Paper provided by Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE in its series STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series with number 012.

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Date of creation: Jul 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cep:stieop:012
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/default.asp

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  1. Besley, Timothy J. & Kudamatsu, Masayuki, 2007. "Making Autocracy Work," CEPR Discussion Papers 6371, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
  3. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2008. "A Theory of Military Dictatorships," NBER Working Papers 13915, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Acemoglu, Daron & Robinson, James A, 1999. "A Theory of Political Transitions," CEPR Discussion Papers 2277, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Sylvain Chassang & Gerard Padró i Miquel, 2010. "Conflict and Deterrence under Strategic Risk," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1821-1858, November.
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