Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Chambers College of Business and Economics



Committee Chair

Russell S Sobel


This dissertation is a collection of essays on the issues in political and defense economics. Chapter 1 gives a brief introduction to the role that political and institutional arrangements play in affecting government policy and economic well-being. The second chapter examines how different political regimes and military manpower systems affect the value of life in military conflicts. The results in Chapter 2 show that democracies suffer lower battlefield casualties than dictatorships. Also noteworthy is that more volunteer based armies, per capita income, and economic freedom lead to lower battlefield deaths. Thus, political and economic liberties are found to increase the value of life in military conflicts. Chapter 3 investigates how arms trade and military spending affect economic growth. The results indicate that higher military spending and net arms exports lead, separately, to lower economic growth, but higher military spending appears to be less detrimental to growth when a country is a large net arms exporter. The fourth chapter examines the relationship between incumbency advantage and legislative shirking or ideology. The results indicate that the incumbency advantage leads to more legislative shirking as evidenced by the departure of politicians from the median voter's ideological preferences. Chapter 5 summarizes the findings of the dissertation, provides concluding remarks, and discusses opportunities for future research in the political economy of warfare.