Academic journal article Journal of Economic Development

Empirical Analysis of the Relationship between Military Endeavor, Economic Growth and Happiness

Academic journal article Journal of Economic Development

Empirical Analysis of the Relationship between Military Endeavor, Economic Growth and Happiness

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)


Economic literature is replete with references to the relationship between growth and happiness (Clark and Oswald, 1996;Frey and Stutzer, 2002; Blanchflower and Oswald, 2004). Likewise, there is an extent research about the relationship between military effort and economic growth (Birdi and Dunne, 2001;Dunne, 2010). However, there is almost no study that addresses the possible interactions between happiness, military effort and growth. Although the merits of the contributions proposed within these separate lines of studies are remarkable, we argue that they don't get grip on all the aspects of military endeavor. This lack of connection in research leaves many empty spaces between these different aspects, yet closely interacted. This article intends to contribute to fill this gap.

The purpose of this paper is to provide a rigorous examination of the links between military endeavor, growth and happiness. From this perspective, we argue that there are two mechanisms through which military endeavor may impact happiness.

The first is a direct mechanism through which the military effort directly impacts the happiness. The second is the "indirect" mechanism by which it affects per capita income which in turn impacts happiness. We assert that the total effect of military effort on happiness is the result of these two effects. As far as we know, prior contributions have neglected this indirect effect, which might significantly affect happiness. To empirically investigate these direct and indirect effects of military efforts on happiness, we use a sample of 45 countries covering the period 2000 to 2013.

We assert that military endeavour is likely to influence average happiness in countries in several ways. It is generally presented as a mean to achieve readiness of the country against any attack. In that sense, it is the way to provide national security which is conventionally considered as a typical public good in that it is non-rivalrous and non-excludable in consumption. Frank (1997) argues that consuming public good increases happiness to a certain point. Public good and happiness are so closely related that happiness approach has recently been used to assess the value of public goods (Di Tella et al., 2001; Welsch, 2007).

Protecting the security of citizens implies not only protecting their lives but also their general living conditions. It consists in protecting facilities and insuring a continued supply of materials, i.e food, equipment, steel, water ect. From this perspective, military endeavour seems to be a mean at the service of human wellbeing. It grants to individuals a sense of protection and feelings of security. As such, individuals living in countries with well-equipped armies are expected to be happier. Moreover, countries approach national security as the national first priority considering it as an embodiment of their national sovereignty. It is natural to assume that nationals belonging to countries with high military readiness have deep feelings of national pride which make them happy. From this perspective, it seems reasonable to assume that the more important is the military effort in a Nation, the higher will be the average happiness in that Nation.

In contrast with this positive view, several scholars stress some negative aspects of military effort (Welsch, 2008; Collier and Hoeffler, 2003). Indeed the impressive waste of resources that military endeavour causes and the potential distortion of the occupational structure that entails may prompt anger and fear from the population.

Moreover, if military effort aims to protect the population against any counter attack, the demarcation point between defence and invasion is very fuzzy and not immovable.

Besides, the increase of the military effort may refer to an imminent war which is the worst fate that put individuals in the farthest point from happiness (Welsch, 2008; Frey et al. …

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