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Defense Spending Cripples Economic Growth

Defense Spending Cripples Economic Growth


Defense spending in the United States has skyrocketed. Research has shown the negative effect this spending can have on a country’s long-term economic growth.

In the News:

“There is, however, one area of federal investment on which Trump and the Congress have worked overtime with remarkable unanimity to increase spending: the Pentagon, which is slated to receive more than $6 trillion over the next decade. This year alone increases will bring total spending on the Pentagon and related agencies (like the Department of Energy where work on nuclear warheads takes place) to $716 billion. That $6-trillion, 10-year figure represents more than 30 times as much direct spending as the president’s $200 billion infrastructure plan. In reality, Pentagon spending is the Trump administration’s substitute for a true infrastructure program and it’s guaranteed to deliver public investments, but neglect just about every area of greatest civilian need from roads to water treatment facilities.”

Insight from Peace Science:

  • Increased military spending leads to slower economic growth.
  • Military spending tends to have a negative impact on economic growth.
  • Over a 20-year period, a 1% increase in military spending will decrease a country’s economic growth by 9%.
  • Increased military spending is especially detrimental to the economic growth of wealthier countries.


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