Preparing for War: Democratic Threat Responsiveness and Military Spending in the Long 19th Century

Research output: Working paper


What explains variation in military spending? Conventional wisdom suggests that states arm because of either foreign threats or domestic political institutions. The literature treats these factors as distinct and separate (Nordhaus et. al. 2012, Fordham and Walker 2005, Goldsmith 2003). Less attention is given to how states with different internal constraints respond to similar circumstances. This paper examines how states with different domestic political institutions respond to foreign threat during the Long 19th Century. Democratic states, with leaders who are accountable to a broad public through institutions of competitive elections and mass suffrage, invest in their militaries proportional to the level of foreign threat their state faces. Autocratic states respond less to shifts in the foreign security concerns, suggesting that the purpose of military spending differs in states with and without public accountability.


  • Alexander von Hagen-Jamar
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameSTANCE Working Papers Series

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Related projects

Jan Teorell, Jens Bartelson, Annika Björkdahl, Hanna Bäck, Agustín Goenaga, Martin Hall, Sara Kalm, Johannes Lindvall, Ellen Ravndal, Ted Svensson, Alexander von Hagen-Jamar, Linda Eitrem Holmgren, Lina Hjärtström, Moa Olin & Martin Hansen

The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation: Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Science Research


Project: ResearchInternal collaboration (LU)

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