Confirmed: Defense Spending Creates Fewer Jobs Than Other Types of Spending

Washington's Blog.

Yesterday, I pointed out that a study by one of the leading economic modeling companies shows that military spending increases unemployment and decreases economic growth.

I have located a paper by economist Robert Pollin published in 2007 by The Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst - entitled "The U.S. Employment Effects of Military and Domestic Spending Priorities" - which concludes:

We present in Table 1 our estimate of the relative effects of spending $1 billion on alternative uses, including military spending, health care, education, mass transit, and construction for home weatherization and infrastructure repair.

[Click image for larger version]

The table first shows in column 1 the data on the total number of jobs created by $1 billion in spending for alternative end uses. As we see, defense spending creates 8,555 total jobs with $1 billion in spending. This is the fewest number of jobs of any of the alternative uses that we present. Thus, personal consumption generates 10,779 jobs, 26.2 percent more than defense, health care generates 12,883 jobs, education generates 17,687, mass transit is at 19,795, and construction for weatherization/infrastructure is 12,804. From this list we see that with two of the categories, education and mass transit, the total number of jobs created with $1 billion in spending is more than twice as many as with defense.

"Military Keynesianism" - the idea that war is the best economic stimulus - is false.

Update: Pollin published an updated version of his paper on October 20, 2009. The abstract summarizes their updated findings:

The authors compare the effects of a $1 billion military investment military and the same investment in clean energy, health care, education, or individual tax cuts. They show that non-military investments create a much larger number of jobs across all pay ranges. With a large share of the federal budget at stake, Pollin and Garrett-Peltier make a strong case that non-military spending priorities can create significantly greater opportunities for decent employment throughout the U.S. economy than spending the same amount of funds with the military.

And here are a chart and table from the updated study:


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