Democracies, Politics, and Arms Supply

14 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2012

See all articles by Margherita Comola

Margherita Comola

Paris School of Economics (PSE); Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne

Date Written: February 2012


Throughout the 20th century arms have not only been tradable goods, but also 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, it concentrates on democratic exporters and estimates 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 reflect a general right‐wing tendency to support national industry and deregulate heavy industry exports. It is also found that higher concentration of power is associated with lower MCW exports, and that executives which serve the last year of their term and can run for re‐election tend to decrease MCW exports.

Suggested Citation

Comola, Margherita, Democracies, Politics, and Arms Supply (February 2012). Review of International Economics, Vol. 20, Issue 1, pp. 150-163, 2012, Available at SSRN: or

Margherita Comola (Contact Author)

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014

Université Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne ( email )

17, rue de la Sorbonne
Paris, IL 75005

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