Disaggregated Defense Spending: Introduction to Data and the Case for Systematic Use

31 Pages Posted: 18 Oct 2022

See all articles by Jordan Becker

Jordan Becker

United States Military Academy, Department of Social Science; Free University of Brussels (VUB)-Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Institute for European Studies, Students; Chaire ECODEF - IHEDN; Institut de Recherche Stratégique de l’Ecole Militaire (IRSEM - Institute for Strategic Research)

Seth Benson

Independent

John Paul Dunne

Independent

Edmund J. Malesky

Duke University, Political Science

Date Written: October 7, 2022

Abstract

Theoretical and empirical research on causes and consequences of defense spending is plentiful. Most of this research uses “top line” defense spending data, either as a share of GDP or as a raw monetary figure. Empirical research has been limited, however, by the “blunt” nature of this data, which does not help explain what countries are spending on. We introduce a dataset that provides information on disaggregated defense spending from 35 NATO and EU members over as many as 51 years. We discuss the main features of this data in the paper, and the replication files will enable other scholars to automate accessing it in the future. In addition to automating the extraction of NATO and European Defence Agency (EDA) data on overall military expenditures, we make data on equipment, personnel, operating, and infrastructure spending available in a single data set. We illustrate the utility of the disaggregated defense spending dataset by replicating canonical and newer analyses using both the overall data and its disaggregated components. Findings differ depending on which type of spending is considered. We find that differences in the relationship between national wealth and defense spending depend on the category of spending considered, as does the tendency toward “free-riding.” These exercises shed new light on seminal theories on burden sharing and the political economy of security. Our initial analysis suggests that disaggregating defense spending is likely to improve analysis of old and emerging research questions of considerable policy importance, and points to several opportunities to do so.

Keywords: Defense Economics, Defense Spending, Burden Sharing, Alliances, NATO, EU Transatlantic Security

Suggested Citation

Becker, Jordan and Benson, Seth and Dunne, John Paul and Malesky, Edmund J., Disaggregated Defense Spending: Introduction to Data and the Case for Systematic Use (October 7, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4241307 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4241307

Jordan Becker (Contact Author)

United States Military Academy, Department of Social Science ( email )

600 Thayer Rd
West Point, NY 10996
United States

Free University of Brussels (VUB)-Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Institute for European Studies, Students ( email )

Ixelles
Belgium

Chaire ECODEF - IHEDN ( email )

Institut de Recherche Stratégique de l’Ecole Militaire (IRSEM - Institute for Strategic Research) ( email )

École Militaire - case 38
1, place Joffre
Paris SP 07, 75007
France

Seth Benson

Independent

John Paul Dunne

Independent

Edmund J. Malesky

Duke University, Political Science ( email )

140 Science Drive (Gross Hall), 2nd floor
Duke University Mailcode: 90204
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Downloads
128
Abstract Views
483
Rank
403,161
PlumX Metrics