The role of military expenditure and arms imports in the Greek debt crisis

Eftychia Nikolaidou


Despite the vast amount of empirical work performed on the defense–growth relationship, the impact of military expenditure on public debt is a largely neglected topic. The recent Greek debt crisis brought to the forefront the role of military expenditure as well as the inefficiencies and the inability of the EU to deal with the European debt crisis. This article investigates the role of military expenditure (among other factors) in the evolution of the Greek debt over the period 1970-2011. Greece is a particularly interesting case in this regard, given its high military burden since 1974 and the recent debt crisis that led the country to sign a bail-out package presented by the European Union, the European Central Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, which involves extreme austerity measures and cuts in public spending. Employing the ARDL approach to cointegration, this article concludes that military expenditure and arms imports have had an adverse (i.e., increasing) effect on Greek public debt in the short-run, while investment has helped to reduce debt both in the short- and the long-run.


Greece; sovereign debt; military expenditure; arms imports

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