Dimensions of Democracy and Military Expenditure

01/09/2020
ULUSLARARASI ILISKILER, VOLUME 17, NUMBER 67, 2020

Omer Faruk ORSUN*

ABSTRACT
Is democracy a luxury that nations cannot afford during wartime? Focusing on the dimensions of democracy separately, I argue that two main features of democracy, contestation and inclusiveness, pull war effort decisions in opposite directions. While decreasing contestation increases the available discretionary resources to leaders and generates long-term reputational incentives to fund a war effort, the inclusiveness dimension determines leaders’ ability to maintain their support base at different levels of a war effort. Predictions from this new theory are tested with a panel dataset that covers all the state-years between 1950 and 2000. Statistical analyses confirm the implications of the theory.

Keywords: Democracy, Domestic Politics, Reputation, War, Military Expenditure

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* Dr., Instructor of Social Science, New York University Abu Dhabi