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The economic impact of military expenditures

Author

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  • Landau, Daniel

Abstract

The author addresses three questions about military spending in developing countries: What are the levels of (and trends in) military spending as a percentage of gross national product? What impact does peacetime military spending have on growth, government spending on social welfare and infrastructure, and other key economic variables? What major factors influence the level of military spending? The author finds that military spending as a share of GNP generally fell in the 1980s, even in the Middle East and North Africa. The mean level of military expenditure as a share of GNP (MES) was 3.9 percent, well below the peak of 5.3 percent in 1976. In 1989, MES averaged only 2.7 percent in Latin America and 2.0 percent in sub-Saharan Africa - the two regions with the most severe economic problems. He finds no evidence of a negative relationship between military spending as a share of GNP and the peacetime growth rate of developing countries - except where military spending is high. He finds that higher shares of MES are not associated with lower shares of government spending on education, health, and infrastructure. As MES increases, government spending as a share of GNP increases, which allows the level of spending on health, education, and infrastructure to be maintained. The author finds some evidence that increased military spending in the developing countries has a weak negative impact on investment and the balance of trade. He finds no evidence of a statistically significant relationship between military spending and inflation. The most important determinant of peacetime military spending is the spending level of neighboring countries - in other words, the potential external threat. Regional conciliation and disarmament may be an important step toward reduced military spending.

Suggested Citation

  • Landau, Daniel, 1993. "The economic impact of military expenditures," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1138, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1138
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Gong, Liutang & Zou, Heng-fu, 2003. "Military spending and stochastic growth," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 153-170, October.
    2. Alptekin, Aynur & Levine, Paul, 2012. "Military expenditure and economic growth: A meta-analysis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 636-650.
    3. Vincenzo Bove & Roberto Nisticò, 2014. "Coups d’état and defense spending: a counterfactual analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 161(3), pages 321-344, December.
    4. Deng-Shan Wang & Yan Wang & Yifang Liu & Heng-fu Zou, 2009. "Optimal Military Spending, Trade and Stochastic Economic Growth," CEMA Working Papers 373, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
    5. Philip R. Gerson, 1998. "The Impact of Fiscal Policy Variables on Output Growth," IMF Working Papers 98/1, International Monetary Fund.
    6. Malcolm Knight & Norman Loayza & Delano Villanueva, 1996. "The Peace Dividend: Military Spending Cuts and Economic Growth," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 43(1), pages 1-37, March.
    7. Po‐Sheng Lin & Cheng‐Te Lee, 2012. "Military Spending, Threats And Stochastic Growth," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(1), pages 8-19, January.
    8. Luca Pieroni, 2007. "Military Spending and Economic Growth," Working Papers 0708, Department of Accounting, Economics and Finance, Bristol Business School, University of the West of England, Bristol.
    9. Renaud Bellais & Martial Foucault & Jean-Michel Oudot, 2014. "Économie de la défense," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-01052607, HAL.
    10. Nigel Harris & David Lockwood, 1997. "The war-making state and privatisation," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(5), pages 597-634.
    11. Baffes, John & Shah, Anwar, 1998. "Productivity of Public Spending, Sectoral Allocation Choices, and Economic Growth," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 46(2), pages 291-303, January.
    12. Cheng-te Lee & Shang-fen Wu, 2015. "Military Spending and Stochastic Growth: A Small Open Economy," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 35(4), pages 2026-2036.
    13. Easterly, William & Fischer, Stanley & DEC, 1994. "The Soviet economic decline : historical and republican data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1284, The World Bank.
    14. Shin-Chyang Lee & Cheng-Te Lee & Shang-Fen Wu, 2016. "Military spending and growth: a small open economy stochastic growth model," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 27(1), pages 105-116, February.
    15. repec:wsi:serxxx:v:50:y:2005:i:01:n:s0217590805001871 is not listed on IDEAS

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