The Political Economy of Conscription

33 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2009

See all articles by Panu Poutvaara

Panu Poutvaara

University of Helsinki - Department of Economics; Helsinki Center of Economic Research (HECER); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Andreas Wagener

Leibniz Universit├Ąt Hannover - Economics and Business Administration Area; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research); Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration

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Date Written: October 2009

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.

Keywords: military draft, public choice, taxation, dynamic costs, fairness

JEL Classification: H56, D72

Suggested Citation

Poutvaara, Panu and Wagener, Andreas, The Political Economy of Conscription (October 2009). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 2821. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1491419

Panu Poutvaara (Contact Author)

University of Helsinki - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 54
FIN-00014 Helsinki
Finland

HOME PAGE: http://www.valt.helsinki.fi/blogs/poutvaar/

Helsinki Center of Economic Research (HECER) ( email )

FI-00014 Helsinki
Finland

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Andreas Wagener

Leibniz Universit├Ąt Hannover - Economics and Business Administration Area ( email )

Koenigsworther Platz 1
30167 Hannover
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute for Economic Research)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.CESifo.de

Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

Welthandelsplatz 1
Vienna, Wien 1020
Austria

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