Eoin F. McGuirk
Department of Economics
27 Hillhouse Avenue
New Haven, CT 06511
Information about this author at RePEc
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|October 2017||No Kin In The Game: Moral Hazard and War in the U.S. Congress|
with Nathaniel Hilger, Nicholas Miller: w23904
Why do wars occur? We exploit a natural experiment to test the longstanding hypothesis that leaders declare war because they fail to internalize the associated costs. We test this moral hazard theory of conflict by compiling data on the family composition of 3,693 US legislators who served in the U.S. Congress during the four conscription-era wars of the 20th century: World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. We test for agency problems by comparing the voting behavior of congressmen with draft-age sons versus draft-age daughters. We estimate that having a draft-age son reduces legislator support for pro-conscription bills by 10-17%. Legislators with draft-age sons are also more likely to win reelection, suggesting that support for conscription is punished by voters. ...
|January 2017||The Economic Origins of Conflict in Africa|
with Marshall Burke: w23056
We study the impact of plausibly exogenous global food price shocks on local violence across the African continent. In food-producing areas, higher food prices reduce conflict over the control of territory (what we call “factor conflict”) and increase conflict over the appropriation of surplus (“output conflict”). We argue that this difference arises because higher prices raise the opportunity cost of soldiering for producers, while simultaneously inducing net consumers to appropriate increasingly valuable surplus as their real wages fall. In regions without crop agriculture, higher food prices increase both factor conflict and output conflict, as poor consumers turn to soldiering and appropriation in order to maintain a minimum consumption target. We validate local-level findings on outpu...