- Open Access
Crowd-out of defence and health spending: is Israel different from other industrialised nations?
© Reeves and Stuckler; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2013
- Received: 22 March 2013
- Accepted: 28 March 2013
- Published: 22 April 2013
Does high defence spending limit the growth of public health investment? Using comparative data from 31 OECD countries between 1980 and 2010, we find little evidence that defence crowds out public health spending. Whether measured in terms of long-term levels or short-term changes, per capita defence and health spending positively and significantly correlate. To investigate the possibility that countries with high security needs such as Israel exhibit differing patterns, we also compare crowd-out among countries experiencing violent conflicts as well as current high military-spending countries. We observed a greater positive correlation between changes in health and defence spending among conflict-countries (r = 0.65, p < 0.01) than in non-conflict countries (r = 0.12, p = 0.01). However, similar to other high-military spending countries, Israel’s politicians reduced defence spending while increasing health expenditure during its recent recession. These analyses reveal that while Israel’s politicians have chronically underinvested in public health, there are modest steps being taken to rectify the country’s unique and avoidable crowding out of public health from its high military spending.
- Health Spending
- Government Budget
- High Security
- Violent Conflict
- Military Spending
Aaron Reeves is a PhD candidate at ISER, University of Essex and a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Oxford.
David Stuckler, MPH, PhD, is a Senior Research Leader in Sociology at University of Oxford and research fellow of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Chatham House.
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