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The Political Economy of Conscription

Panu Poutvaara () and Andreas Wagener

No 4429, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: Though in decline recently, military conscription is still a widely used mode of staffing armies. Since not many valid economic, social or military arguments in favor of the draft can be put forward, the question emerges why societies choose to rely on it. In this survey we explain the political allure of military conscription by its specific intra- and intergenerational incidence as a tax. From a public choice perspective, there is always a vast majority of people in favor of the introduction and maintenance of military draft, as compared to a professional army. Empirical evidence for this conclusion appears to be mixed, however. Political preferences with respect to conscription involve concerns about its unfairness and questionable record on social accounts. Special interests may also matter.

Keywords: fairness; dynamic costs; military draft; public choice; taxation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 H56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 30 pages
Date: 2009-09
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-hpe, nep-pbe and nep-pol
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
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Published in: Christopher J. Coyne and Rachel L. Mathers (eds.), The Handbook on the Political Economy of War, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2011

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Related works:
Chapter: The Political Economy of Conscription (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: The Political Economy of Conscription (2009) Downloads
Chapter: The political economy of conscription
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