Desertion As Theft
Forthcoming, Journal of Institutional Economics
25 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2019 Last revised: 22 Apr 2019
Date Written: March 5, 2019
To be effective, an army must contain the extent of desertion among its ranks. This phenomenon rose to particular prominence in Europe during the 18th and 19th century, with the appearance of the figure of the ‘citizen-soldier’ on the battlefield. This paper offers the first theoretical treatment of the issue of desertion from an economic perspective. Building on the work of Yoram Barzel on the ‘economic analysis of property rights’, we develop a ‘desertion as theft’ framework. We then test the empirical implications of the framework against qualitative and quantitative evidence from Napoleonic France.
Keywords: Desertion, Post-revolutionary France, Property rights
JEL Classification: N43; K42; D23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation