Theodore Roosevelt used the US military to create what he called “civilized societies.” A growing literature focuses on the economic benefits of empires, benefits sometimes referred to as “global public goods”. Some authors, such as Mitchener and Weidenmier (2005) and Ferguson and Schularick (2006), neglect the associated public bads. This paper highlights the potential public bads. This study formulates the leading public bads and explores the public bads in the context explored by Mitchener and Weidenmier, namely, the Roosevelt Corollary and Latin America. The discussion also moves to the broader plane, suggesting that the Roosevelt Corollary set a precedent for subsequent US military interventions around the world. This study uses the ratings of political institutions issued by the well-known Polity IV index to further support a skeptical view of imperial public good provision.
Read the article at Econ Journal Watch.