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Technology and the Era of the Mass Army

Author

Listed:
  • Massimiliano Gaetano Onorato

    () (IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies)

  • Kenneth Scheve

    (Stanford University)

  • David Stasavage

    (New York University)

Abstract

We investigate how technology has influenced the size of armies. During the nineteenth century the development of the railroad made it possible to field and support mass armies, significantly increasing the observed size of military forces. During the late twentieth century further advances in technology made it possible to deliver explosive force from a distance and with precision, making mass armies less desirable. We find strong support for our technological account using a new data set covering thirteen great powers between 1600 and 2000. Contrary to what is so often suggested, we find little evidence that the French Revolution was a watershed in terms of levels of mobilization..

Suggested Citation

  • Massimiliano Gaetano Onorato & Kenneth Scheve & David Stasavage, 2012. "Technology and the Era of the Mass Army," Working Papers 5/2012, IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca, revised Nov 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:ial:wpaper:5/2012
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    File URL: http://eprints.imtlucca.it/1420/1/EIC_WP_2012_5.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2012
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Dincecco, Mark, 2009. "Fiscal Centralization, Limited Government, and Public Revenues in Europe, 1650–1913," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 69(01), pages 48-103, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Murat Iyigun & Nathan Nunn & Nancy Qian, 2017. "The Long-run Effects of Agricultural Productivity on Conflict, 1400-1900," NBER Working Papers 24066, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Lagerlöf, Nils-Petter, 2014. "Population, technology and fragmentation: The European miracle revisited," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 87-105.
    3. Alberto Alesina & Bryony Reich & Alessandro Riboni, 2017. "Nation-Building, Nationalism and Wars," NBER Working Papers 23435, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Mark Dincecco & Massimiliano Gaetano Onorato, 2016. "Military conflict and the rise of urban Europe," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 21(3), pages 259-282, September.
    5. repec:eee:deveco:v:128:y:2017:i:c:p:49-64 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Mehrdad Vahabi, 2016. "A positive theory of the predatory state," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 168(3), pages 153-175, September.
    7. Oeindrila Dube & S.P. Harish, 2017. "Queens," NBER Working Papers 23337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Military; Security; Soldiers; Technological Change; Technology; Technology Adoption; War; Warfare;

    JEL classification:

    • F52 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - National Security; Economic Nationalism
    • N4 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation
    • N7 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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