Drones: Public Interest, Public Choice, and the Expansion of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

40 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2014

See all articles by Abigail Hall

Abigail Hall

University of Tampa; George Mason University

Date Written: September 17, 2014


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or “drones” have become a core component of the U.S. military arsenal following September 11, 2001. In much of the literature and public discourse regarding drones, it is assumed that drone policy is created within the broader “public interest.” That is, those who construct drone policy set aside private incentives and other motives to construct policy solely to achieve the goals of U.S. citizens and maximize some larger social welfare function. This paper identifies the propositions associated with this public interest ideal and examines their accuracy. I find a general disconnect between the empirical evidence and the public interest assumption. In several cases, the evidence directly contradicts the assumption of public interest. In light of these findings I offer an alternative, and more realistic, analytical framework to adjudicate between observed realities and stated goals.

Keywords: Political Economy, Public Interest, Public Choice, Drones, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

JEL Classification: D72, D73, H56, P16

Suggested Citation

Hall, Abigail, Drones: Public Interest, Public Choice, and the Expansion of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (September 17, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2497539 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2497539

Abigail Hall (Contact Author)

University of Tampa ( email )

George Mason University ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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