Polycentric Defense

22 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2019 Last revised: 26 Dec 2019

See all articles by Christopher J. Coyne

Christopher J. Coyne

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Nathan P. Goodman

George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Date Written: September 11, 2019


Orthodox economics models defense as a public good provided by a central nation state. This approach abstracts away from the diverse institutions and processes individuals use to provide defense in the actual world. This paper frames defense as a polycentric system whereby dispersed groups of people find context-specific solutions to collective action problems. We explore what polycentric defense looks like, both theoretically and through historical illustrations.

Keywords: national security, national defense, polycentricity, collective action problems, selective incentives, public goods

JEL Classification: D02, F52, H41, H56

Suggested Citation

Coyne, Christopher J. and Goodman, Nathan, Polycentric Defense (September 11, 2019). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 19-31, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3451634 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3451634

Christopher J. Coyne (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.ccoyne.com/

Nathan Goodman

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

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