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Democracies, politics and arms supply: A bilateral trade equation


  • Margherita Comola

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PJSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)


Throughout the XXth century arms have not only been tradable goods, but also foreign policy instruments. This paper focuses on countries supplying major conventional weapons (MCW), and investigates whether changes in political conditions impact the quantity of MCW supplied to third countries. In particular, I concentrate on democratic exporters and estimate a gravity-type panel TOBIT for the years 1975-2004. Results suggest that the exporter's chief executive being right-wing has a positive and significant impact on MCW exports. This may reect a general right-wing tendency to support national industry and deregulate heavy industry exports. I also find that higher political competition is associated with higher MCW exports, and that executives serving the last year of their current term tend to increase MCW exports if they cannot be re-elected, and to decrease MCW exports if they run for re-election.

Suggested Citation

  • Margherita Comola, 2009. "Democracies, politics and arms supply: A bilateral trade equation," PSE Working Papers halshs-00585982, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00585982
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    arms trade; politics; gravity-type equation;


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