August, 2015

The Revolving Door and the Entrenchment of the Permanent War Economy

  • Christopher Coyne

    Associate Director, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • Thomas Duncan

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This paper analyzes the “revolving door” phenomena in the military sector in the US. The revolving door refers to the back-and-forth movement of personnel between the government and private sector. We examine the structure of the revolving door and explain how its very nature leads to the perpetuation of the permanent war economy. This analysis yields several important implications. First, the dynamics of the revolving door shape the military-industrial complex in a way that serves the narrow interests of select elites rather than the broad interests of citizens. Second, because the perverse incentives are a product of the institutional structure of the US military sector, the negative consequences are also structural and cannot be solved by increased oversight.