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Military Spending and Inequality in Autocracies: A Simple Model

  • In this note, we outline a general framework for analyzing how inequality and military spending interact in a society governed by a rent-seeking autocrat. Relying on a general equilibrium model, we show that, generally, the autocrat utilizes the military for redistribution in favor of poorer citizens. However, the dictator’s own rent-seeking activity weakens the extent of redistribution and, in the extreme, can even reverse its direction, yielding more unequal secondary distributions instead. Accordingly, the initial level of inequality also affects the impact of military spending on inequality as the former has an impact on the extent of both, the regime’s rent-seeking activity as well as redistribution. Here, our model shows that primary and secondary distributions are rather equal for extreme initial equality/inequality. For medium levels of initial inequality, redistribution is rather large and can be in favor of the poor or of the rich, depending on the extent of rent-seeking and the primary distribution. Based on these results,In this note, we outline a general framework for analyzing how inequality and military spending interact in a society governed by a rent-seeking autocrat. Relying on a general equilibrium model, we show that, generally, the autocrat utilizes the military for redistribution in favor of poorer citizens. However, the dictator’s own rent-seeking activity weakens the extent of redistribution and, in the extreme, can even reverse its direction, yielding more unequal secondary distributions instead. Accordingly, the initial level of inequality also affects the impact of military spending on inequality as the former has an impact on the extent of both, the regime’s rent-seeking activity as well as redistribution. Here, our model shows that primary and secondary distributions are rather equal for extreme initial equality/inequality. For medium levels of initial inequality, redistribution is rather large and can be in favor of the poor or of the rich, depending on the extent of rent-seeking and the primary distribution. Based on these results, we highlight the importance of a society’s institutional framework for analyzing the relation of inequality and military spending.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Schwuchow, Sören C.ORCiD
URL:https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/peps.2018.24.issue-4/peps-2018-0025/peps-2018-0025.xml?format=INT
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1515/peps-2018-0025
ISSN:1554-8597
Titel der Quelle (English):Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy
Document Type:Wissenschaftlicher Zeitschriftenartikel referiert
Language:English
Erscheinungsjahr:2018
Tag:Inequality; autocracies; military spending; rent-seeking
Band / Jahrgang:24
Issue:4
Pagenumber:5
Institution / Subject:Fakultät 5 Wirtschaft, Recht und Gesellschaft / FG VWL, insbesondere Mikroökonomik