Analysis of SIPRI’s arms production data: Some suggestions for expansion

Herbert Wulf


This article proposes that the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s top-100 dataset of the world's largest arms producers and military service providers be expanded to permit comparison of the value of arms/service sales not only in absolute terms across countries and time but also relative to countries’ industrial output. Specifically, the article suggests setting the sum of the arms/service sales of a country’s top-100 members in SIPRI’s list in relation to that country’s output in its machinery and equipment sector. Illustrating the suggestion with data for 2015 finds that countries such as Israel, Russia, the U.K., and the U.S. have a far greater percentage of its machinery and equipment sector vested in arms production than do countries such as France, Germany, or Japan. The article also suggests comparing a country’s top-arms producers to its top non-arms producers, that is, comparing country’s arms-makers listed in SIPRI’s top-100 list with, for example, companies in the Fortune Global 500 list. The article concludes with a discussion of methodological issues.


Arms industry; data; SIPRI

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Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. 1990. SIPRI Yearbook. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

United Nations Industrial Development Organisation. 2017. INDSTAT 2. ISIC Revision 3.



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