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The Political Economy of Conscription

Author

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  • Panu Poutvaara

    ()

  • Andreas Wagener

Abstract

Though in decline recently, military conscription is still a widely used mode of staffing armies. Since not many valid economic, social or military arguments in favor of the draft can be put forward, the question emerges why societies choose to rely on it. In this survey we explain the political allure of military conscription by its specific intra- and intergenerational incidence as a tax. From a public choice perspective, there is always a vast majority of people in favor of the introduction and maintenance of military draft, as compared to a professional army. Empirical evidence for this conclusion appears to be mixed, however. Political preferences with respect to conscription involve concerns about its unfairness and questionable record on social accounts. Special interests may also matter.

Suggested Citation

  • Panu Poutvaara & Andreas Wagener, 2009. "The Political Economy of Conscription," CESifo Working Paper Series 2821, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2821
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Frank Hubers & Dinand Webbink, 2015. "The long-term effects of military conscription on educational attainment and wages," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-16, December.
    2. Panu Poutvaara & Andreas Wagener, 2011. "Ending Military Conscription," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 9(2), pages 36-43, 07.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    military draft; public choice; taxation; dynamic costs; fairness;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War

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