Accessible Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 16, 2015

The Revolving Door and the Entrenchment of the Permanent War Economy

Thomas K. Duncan and Christopher J. Coyne

Abstract

This paper analyzes the “revolving door” phenomena in the military sector in the US. The revolving door refers to the back-and-forth movement of personnel between the government and private sector. We examine the structure of the revolving door and explain how its very nature leads to the perpetuation of the permanent war economy. This analysis yields several important implications. First, the dynamics of the revolving door shape the military-industrial complex in a way that serves the narrow interests of select elites rather than the broad interests of citizens. Second, because the perverse incentives are a product of the institutional structure of the US military sector, the negative consequences are also structural and cannot be solved by increased oversight.

JEL Codes:: B53; H56; P50; D72

Corresponding author: Thomas K. Duncan, Department of Economics, Radford University, P.O. Box 6952, Radford, VA 24142, USA, E-mail:

Acknowledgments:

We would like to thank the College of Business and Economics at Radford University for its generous support. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Southern Economic Association Annual Meeting in Atlanta, GA, November 22, 2014. We would like to thank participants for their comments and suggestions. We also thank the editor and two anonymous referees for useful comments and suggestions. Any remaining errors are our own.

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Published Online: 2015-6-16
Published in Print: 2015-8-1

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