Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa


  • Oriol Sabaté (a1)

This paper analyses the influence of political regimes on the level and economic composition of military expenditure in Spain over the long run. In contrast with the widely accepted negative relation between democracy and military spending, the paper suggests that democratic governments established in the late 1970s and early 1980s after Franco’s dictatorship had a positive influence on the military burden owing to the efforts to reorient the army towards international threats and to involve the armed forces with the newly democratic institutions. In addition, the analysis of military expenditure allows us to conclude that the international orientation of democratic military policies took place along with financial efforts to obtain a capital-intensive army to confront international military threats.


El artículo analiza la influencia de los regímenes políticos en el nivel y en la composición económica del gasto militar en España en el largo plazo. En contraste con la relación negativa entre democracia y gasto militar comúnmente aceptada por la literatura, el artículo sugiere que los gobiernos democráticos establecidos a finales de los 1970s y principios de los 1980s tuvieron una influencia positiva en la carga militar española debido a los esfuerzos para reorientar el ejército hacia las amenazas exteriores y para involucrar las fuerzas armadas con las nuevas instituciones democráticas. Adicionalmente, el análisis de la composición económica del gasto permite concluir que la orientación internacional de las políticas militares de los gobiernos democráticos fue aparejada con un mayor esfuerzo para conseguir un ejército intensivo en capital, con el objetivo de poder intervenir en el escenario militar internacional.

Hide All

This paper is part of the author’s PhD dissertation project under the supervision of Alfonso Herranz and Sergio Espuelas, to whom the author is most grateful for their valuable advice. The author also want to thank the participants of the I Foro de Doctorandos e Investigadores Noveles en Historia Económica, the VIII European Historical Economics Society Summer School, the Economic History PhD Seminar of the University of Barcelona and three anonymous referees for their helpful comments. The author is also grateful to Stein Aaslund and Perlo-Freeman for their generous help with the NATO figures and methodologies on military spending, and to the staff of the Study Center for Peace J.M. Delàs for their suggestions on Spanish military expenditure. The usual disclaimer applies.


Department of Economic History and Institutions, University of Barcelona, Avda. Diagonal, 690 08034 Barcelona, Spain.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

A. Ades , and H. B Chua . (1997): «Thy Neighbor’s Curse: Regional Instability and Economic Growth». Journal of Economic Growth 2 (3), pp. 279-304.

S. Baliga ; D. O. Lucca , and T Sjöström . (2011): «Domestic Political Survival and International Conflict: Is Democracy Good for Peace». Review of Economic Studies 78, pp. 458-486.

P. Batchelor ; P. Dunne , and G Lamb . (2002): «The Demand for Military Spending in South Africa». Journal of Peace Research 39 (3), pp. 339-354.

D. Ben-David , and D. H Papell . (2000): «Some Evidence on the Continuity of the Growth Process Among the G7 Countries». Economic Inquiry 38 (2), pp. 320-330.

T. Besley , and J. A Robinson . (2010): «Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes? Civilian Control over the Military». Journal of the European Economic Association 8 (2-3), pp. 655-663.

C. Boix ; M. Miller , and S Rosato . (2012): «A Complete Dataset of Political Regimes, 1800-2007». Comparative Political Studies 46 (12), pp. 1523-1554.

V. Bove , and E Cavatorta . (2012): «From Conscription to Volunteers: Budget Shares in NATO Defence Spending». Defence and Peace Economics 23 (3), pp. 273-288.

J Brauner . (2015): «Military Spending and Democracy». Defence and Peace Economics 26(4), 409-423.

J. Y. Campbell , and P Perron . (1991): «Pitfalls and Opportunities: What Macroeconomists Should Know About Unit Roots». NBER Macroeconomic Annual, Cambridge, pp. 141-201.

J. D Caverley . (2009): «The Myth of Military Myopia: Democracy, Small Wars, and Vietnam». International Security 34 (3), pp. 119-157.

D. Collier , and R Adcock . (1999): «Democracy and Dichotomies: A Pragmatic Approach to Choices About Concepts». Annual Review of Political Science 2, pp. 537-565.

J. M Cypher . (2007): «From Military Keynesianism to Global-Neoliberal Militarism». Monthly Review 59 (2).

P. Dunne ; E. Nikolaidou , and N Mylonidis . (2003): «The Demand for Military Spending in the Peripheral Economies of Europe». Defence and Peace Economics 14 (6), pp. 447-460.

P. Dunne , and S Perlo-Freeman . (2003): «The Demand for Military Spending in Developing Countries». International Review of Applied Economics 17 (1), pp. 23-48.

P. Dunne ; S. Perlo-Freeman , and R. P Smith . (2008): «The Demand for Military Expenditure in Developing Countries: Hostility Versus Capability». Defence and Peace Economics 19 (4), pp. 293-302.

P. Dunne , and R. P Smith . (2007): «The Econometrics of Military Arms Races», in K. Hartley, and T. Sandler (eds), Handbook of Defence Economics. Amsterdam: Elsevier, pp. 913-940.

J Eloranta . (2007): «From the Great Illusion to the Great War: Military Spending Behaviour of the Great Powers, 1870-1913». European Review of Economic History 11 (2), pp. 255-283.

J. Eloranta ; A. Svetlozar , and P Osinsky . (2014): «Democratization and Central Government Spending, 1870-1938: Emergence of the Leviathan?». Research in Economic History 30, pp. 1-46.

S Espuelas . (2012): «Are Dictatorships Less Redistributive? A Comparative Analysis of Social Spending in Europe (1950-1980)». European Review of Economic History 16 (2), pp. 211-232.

B. O. Fordham , and T. C Walker . (2005): «Kantian Liberalism, Regime Type, and Military Resource Allocation: Do Democracies Spend Less?». International Studies Quarterly 49 (1), pp. 141-157.

M. D. Gadea , and A Montañés . (2001): «An Analysis of Defence Spending in Spain: A Long-Run Approach». Defence and Peace Economics 12 (5), pp. 369-393.

B. E Goldsmith . (2003): «Bearing the Defense Burden, 1886-1989: Why Spend More?». Journal of Conflict Resolution 47 (5), pp. 551-573.

B. E Goldsmith . (2007): «Defense Effort and Institutional Theories of Democratic Peace and Victory Why Try Harder?». Security Studies 16 (2), pp. 189-222.

H Hegre . (2014): «Democracy and Armed Conflict». Journal of Peace Research 51 (2), pp. 159-172.

J. H Lebovic . (2001): «Spending Priorities and Democratic Rule in Latin America». Journal of Conflict Resolution 45 (4), pp. 427-452.

P. H Lindert . (2004): Growing Public Social Spending and Economic Growth Since the Eighteenth Century (Volume I and II). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

J. C Murdoch . (1995): «Military Alliances: Theory and Empirics», in K. Hartley, and T. Sandler (eds), Handbook of Defence Economics. Amsterdam: Elsevier, pp. 89-108.

L Pieroni . (2009): «Military Expenditure and Economic Growth». Defence and Peace Economics 20 (4), pp. 327-339.

J Powell . (2012): «Determinants of the Attempting and Outcome of Coups d’état». Journal of Conflict Resolution 56 (6), pp. 1017-1040.

R. M Rosh . (1988): «Third World Militarization: Security Webs and the States they Ensnare». Journal of Conflict Resolution 32 (4), pp. 671-698.

K. A. Schultz , and B. R Weingast . (2003): «The Democratic Advantage: Institutional Foundations of Financial Power in International Competition». International Organization 57 (1), pp. 3-42.

T. S. Sechser , and E. N Saunders . (2010): «The Army You Have: The Determinants of Military Mechanization, 1979-2001». International Studies Quarterly 54 (2), pp. 481-511.

R. F Tusalem . (2014): «Bringing the Military Back In: The Politicization of the Military and its Effect on Democratic Consolidation». International Political Science Review 35 (4), pp. 482-501.

A Valiño Castro . (2001): «Defense Spending in Spain». Defence and Peace Economics 12 (5), pp. 395-415.

M. Wahman ; J. Teorell , and A Hadenius . (2013): «Authoritarian Regimes Types Revisited: Updated Data in Comparative Perspective». Contemporary Politics 19 (1), pp. 19-34.

G. D. Whitten , and L. K Williams . (2011): «Buttery Guns and Welfare Hawks: The Politics of Defense Spending in Advanced Industrial Democracies». American Journal of Political Science 55 (1), pp. 117-134.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Revista de Historia Economica - Journal of Iberian and Latin American Economic History
  • ISSN: 0212-6109
  • EISSN: 2041-3335
  • URL: /core/journals/revista-de-historia-economica-journal-of-iberian-and-latin-american-economic-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 41 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 190 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 24th August 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.