Beating Plowshares into Swords: The Impact of the Metropolitan-Military Complex
- Author(s): Chowdhury, Rumman
- Advisor(s): Kousser, Thaddeus
- Erie, Steven
- et al.
Does economic dominance by the military affect local political and social
outcomes? This study is an extensive examination of the metropolitan-military
complex through empirical and case-study analyses. I establish an empirical
link between public spending, social capital, and military economic
involvement. A natural experiment of base realignments tests causal
hypotheses, determining that political capture occurs when the military is a
dominant industry. Path-dependence is examined both empirically and
anecdotally by introducing predictive modeling to bolster case-study uniquely suited for this analysis as they are demographically, economically,
historically, and geographically similar. They share an early history intertwined
with the railroad and the military, but while San Diego stayed economically
reliant on the military, Las Vegas switched allegiances to the gaming industry.
As a result, we are able to see an alternative scenario to San Diego’s military influenced
history. The analyses and case study culminate in a multidimensional
understanding of economic dominance. This work contributes to
the literature on political capture, invites discussion on how industry affects the
democratic process, and raises salient questions for policy-makers interested
in attracting major industries to their region.