Democracies, politics and arms supply: A bilateral trade equation
Politics can influence arms trade through several channels, and history indicates that it actually does: throughout the XXth century arms have not only been tradable goods, but also foreign policy instruments. This paper focuses on countries supplying major conventional weapons (MCW), and investigates whether the political orientation of the government in power makes any difference to arms export policy. In particular, I concentrate on democratic exporters to check how the government's political orientation, right-wing or left-wing, has an impact on the quantity of arms supplied to third countries. For this purpose, a bilateral trade equation is estimated for the years 1975-2004 by applying a panel TOBIT framework. Results suggest that the exporter's chief executive being right-wing has a positive and significant impact on MCW exports. This may reflect a general right-wing tendency to lower trade barriers, with its consequences on the deregularization of heavy industry exports, or a higher economic support towards the armament sector as a relevant part of national industry.
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