After War: The Political Economy of Exporting Democracy

Aug 03, 2006
B-339 Rayburn House Office Building


Dr. Christopher Coyne
Professor of Economics
Hampden-Sydney College

Click Here to view Dr. Coyne's powerpoint presentation.

Since its occupation of Cuba in 1898, the United States has occupied twenty-nine different countries with the goal of planting the seeds of sustaining liberal democracy.  In each instance, the U.S. hoped those seeds would produce a stable and friendly ally.  Yet can liberal democracy truly be exported via military occupation?  For each Germany or Japan, there is a Cuba, Vietnam or Somalia.  The current situation in Iraq is yet another example of the challenges facing the exportation of democracy by the United States.

To discuss these challenges and offer an economic and historical perspective, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University will host a new, interactive event exclusively for senior-level staff.  The Capitol Hill Campus Book Forum will feature young, promising scholars in the field of economics presenting their book projects.  The book lecture format will debut on Thursday, August 3rd, and will feature Dr. Christopher Coyne of Hampden-Sydney College.  Dr. Coyne explores the economics of reconstruction in After War: The Political Economy of Exporting Democracy, to be published by Stanford University Press.  Dr. Coyne will apply an economic analysis in his discussion of the reconstruction efforts in weak, failed, and war-torn states.  A draft of the first chapter is available here.

The Capitol Hill Campus Book Forum is meant to elicit feedback from policymakers on issues of professional or personal significance.  Dr. Coyne is excited to share his research with policymakers, explore potential policy impacts or limitations, and hear valuable feedback.  Questions to be discussed include:

  • What does economics have to say about exporting democracy?  Which incentives spur or deter democratic behavior?
  • What institutional arrangements are most conducive to sustainable democracies? Can those institutions be fostered by outside forces?
  • What lessons can be drawn from past experiences with exporting democracy? How can these lessons be applied in Iraq and to future policy decisions?
  • Are there any alternatives to military occupation for establishing liberal democratic institutions?