Individual preferences and the demand for military expenditure

David Throsby, Glenn A. Withers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Whose preferences determine the tradeoff between security and civilian output in deciding upon budget allocations to defence? This paper considers the role that consumer preferences might play in influencing military spending. We propose normative criteria to judge the economic or political efficiency of defence provision at a given time, and test them using Australian survey-based micro-data. Our results suggest that the political system has not delivered a simple social-choice translation of individual preferences into collective outcomes, nor has it delivered results consistent with simple majority-voting median preferences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-102
Number of pages16
JournalDefence and Peace Economics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Contingent valuation
  • Demand for defence
  • Military spending
  • Social choice


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