Handbook on the Economics of Conflict
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Handbook on the Economics of Conflict

Edited by Derek L. Braddon and Keith Hartley

The Handbook on the Economics of Conflict conveys how economics can contribute to the understanding of conflict in its various dimensions embracing world wars, regional conflicts, terrorism and the role of peacekeeping in conflict prevention.
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Chapter 17: Helping Secure the ‘Biggest Bang for the Taxpayers’ Buck’: Defence Resource Management in the United Kingdom

Neil Davies, Tony Turner, Andrew Gibbons, David Jones, Stuart Davies and Nick Bennett


Neil Davies, Tony Turner, Andrew Gibbons, Stuart Davies, David Jones and Nick Bennett 17.1 INTRODUCTION What do economists employed by defence ministries do? This chapter seeks to provide an answer to that question for the UK. It describes the various strands of work in which United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MOD) economists are engaged. The unifying theme to these is the pursuit of effective defence resource management – helping secure ‘the biggest bang for the taxpayers’ buck’. 17.2 CONTEXT The UK is a significant defence power. In 2009, its total spending on defence, at 2009 prices and exchange rates, was fourth after the USA, China and (just behind) France (Table 17.1). In purchasing power parity terms it ranked sixth after the USA, China, India, Russia and Saudi Arabia – all these having much larger populations. This reflects the UK’s history, its prominent position in international organizations (for example as a permanent member of UN Security Council), and its dependence on trade and the global economy. The UK is still the world’s seventh-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer in terms of merchandise trade, and in 2007 total UK trade (exports plus imports) accounted for over 55 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) (IMF International Financial Statistics). While other major countries have higher proportionate dependence on trade (for Germany the figure was 86 per cent and for Canada 68 per cent) the UK trade partners are more globally distributed and 95 per cent of the UK’s visible trade is dependent on shipping. 17.3...

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