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Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Caruso, Raul

Ed. by Bove, Vincenzo / Kibris, Arzu / Sekeris, Petros

4 Issues per year

CiteScore 2017: 0.54

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.304
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.540

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Volume 21, Issue 2


Volume 17 (2011)

Volume 4 (1996)

Volume 3 (1995)

Volume 2 (1994)

Volume 1 (1993)

Drones: Public Interest, Public Choice, and the Expansion of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Abigail R. Hall
Published Online: 2015-03-28 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/peps-2014-0043


Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or “drones” have become a core component of the US military arsenal following September 11, 2001. In much of the literature and public discourse regarding drones, it is assumed that drone policy is created within the broader “public interest.” That is, those who construct drone policy set aside private incentives and other motives to construct policy solely to achieve the goals of US citizens and maximize some larger social welfare function. This paper identifies the conjectures associated with this public interest ideal and examines their accuracy. I find a general disconnect between the evidence and the public interest assumption. In several cases, the evidence directly contradicts the assumption of public interest. In light of these findings I offer an alternative analytical framework, the “public choice” framework to adjudicate between observed realities and stated goals.

Keywords: political economy; public interest; public choice; drones; unmanned aerial vehicles

JEL Codes:: D72; D73; H56; P16


About the article

Corresponding author: Abigail R. Hall, Department of Economics, George Mason University, MS 3G4, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA, E-mail:

Published Online: 2015-03-28

Published in Print: 2015-04-01

Citation Information: Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, Volume 21, Issue 2, Pages 273–300, ISSN (Online) 1554-8597, ISSN (Print) 1079-2457, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/peps-2014-0043.

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