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Growth, political instability, and the defense burden

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  • S. Brock Blomberg

Abstract

This paper develops a model to examine the economic effects of political instability and military expenditure. In the model, \\"kleptocracies\\" use defense as \\"imperfect\\" insurance against the probability of being overthrown. Increasing defense has a secondary effect of augmenting the human capital stock (a spin-off effect). However, defense investment comes at the expense of consuming scarce resources (a crowding out effect). The paper's central contribution is to model each of these effects and their relationship to one another. The resulting theory predicts that the equilibrium is Pareto inefficient and that increased political instability and increased defense can inhibit economic growth. Empirically, increases in political instability are found to decrease growth while increases in defense are found to decrease political instability. The paper also finds that increases in defense have a direct negative effect on growth, although the relation is weak. The weak relation implies the aforementioned crowding out effect is largely mitigated by the spin-off effect.

Suggested Citation

  • S. Brock Blomberg, 1992. "Growth, political instability, and the defense burden," International Finance Discussion Papers 436, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.), revised 1992.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:436
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Alesina, Alberto & Perotti, Roberto, 1994. "The Political Economy of Growth: A Critical Survey of the Recent Literature," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 8(3), pages 351-371, September.
    2. Fic, Tatiana & Ghate, Chetan, 2005. "The welfare state, thresholds, and economic growth," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 571-598, May.
    3. Asea, Patrick K. & Blomberg, Brock, 1998. "Lending cycles," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1-2), pages 89-128.
    4. Janmaat, John A & Ruijs, Arjan, 2006. "Investing in Arms to Secure Water," MPRA Paper 10667, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Ali Kutan & Su Zhou, 1995. "Sociopolitical instability, volatility, and the bid-ask spread: Evidence from the free market for dollars in Poland," Open Economies Review, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 225-236, July.

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    Keywords

    Defense contracts;

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