Apr 20th, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM


Arms Transfers and Stability in the Developing World: A Causal Model

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Ross E. Burkhart


In recent years, several studies have emerged that seek to understand the nature, scope, and significance of arms transfers in the post-Cold War period. A common theme throughout this literature is the assertion that the collapse of the Soviet Union gave birth to a globalized, commercialized US arms industry dependent upon exports to the developing world in order to survive. Using pooled time-series data, this study tests this assertion via Prais-Winsten panel-corrected standard errors regression. The relationship between such transfers and stability in the developing world is also explored. Using a nonrecursive simultaneous equation model, a new measure of stability is constructed accounting for political, economic, and social indicators of stability. The study concludes that the global arms trade has been commercialized, and that US producers are increasingly targeting countries in the developing world. Arms transfers are also seen to have a negative relationship to stability, as well as lead to lower levels of democracy in the importing state. These results are discussed with reference to US national security and the stated goals of American foreign policy.