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Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Caruso, Raul

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

CiteScore 2018: 0.44

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.281
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.320

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Volume 24, Issue 4


Volume 17 (2011)

Volume 4 (1996)

Volume 3 (1995)

Volume 2 (1994)

Volume 1 (1993)

Military Spending and Inequality in Autocracies

A Simple Model

Soeren C. SchwuchowORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7214-4068
Published Online: 2018-10-10 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/peps-2018-0025


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.

Keywords: Inequality; autocracies; rent-seeking; military spending

JEL Classification: H56; H23; D31


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About the article

Published Online: 2018-10-10

Citation Information: Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, Volume 24, Issue 4, 20180025, ISSN (Online) 1554-8597, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/peps-2018-0025.

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