The Effects of Local Elections on National Military Spending: A Cross-country Study
In this paper, we study the domestic political determinants of military spending. Our conceptual framework suggests that power distribution over local and central governments influences the government provision of national public goods, in our context, military expenditure. Drawing on a large cross-country panel, we demonstrate that having local elections will decrease a country’s military expenditure markedly, controlling for other political and economic variables. According to our preferred estimates, a country’s military expenditure is on average 20% lower if its state government officials are locally elected, which is consistent with our theoretical prediction.