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

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  • Gabriel Leon

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Gabriel Leon, 2009. "Soldiers or Bureaucrats?Conflict and the Military’s Role in Policy-Making," STICERD - Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers Series 012, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:stieop:012
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    File URL: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/eopp/eopp12.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Besley, Timothy & Kudamatsu, Masayuki, 2007. "Making autocracy work," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3764, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Daron Acemoglu & Davide Ticchi & Andrea Vindigni, 2010. "A Theory of Military Dictatorships," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 1-42, January.
    3. 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.
    4. Sylvain Chassang & Gerard Padró I Miquel, 2010. "Conflict and Deterrence Under Strategic Risk," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(4), pages 1821-1858.
    5. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson, 2001. "A Theory of Political Transitions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(4), pages 938-963, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gabriel Leon, 2014. "Loyalty for sale? Military spending and coups d’etat," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 159(3), pages 363-383, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    institutions; conflict; political economy; military; war; coups;

    JEL classification:

    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • 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
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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