Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Hakan Yilmazkuday

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Cem Karayalcin

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Third Advisor's Name

Sheng Guo

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Sneh Gulati

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member


Economics, Applied Econometrics, Income Inequality, Public Economics

Date of Defense



This dissertation analyzes both the economics of the defense contracting process and the impact of total dollar obligations on the economies of U.S. states. Using various econometric techniques, I will estimate relationships across individual contracts, state level output, and income inequality. I will achieve this primarily through the use of a dataset on individual contract obligations.

The first essay will catalog the distribution of contracts and isolate aspects of the process that contribute to contract dollar obligations. Accordingly, this study describes several characteristics about individual defense contracts, from 1966-2006: (i) the distribution of contract dollar obligations is extremely rightward skewed, (ii) contracts are unevenly distributed in a geographic sense across the United States, (iii) increased duration of a contract by 10 percent is associated with an increase in costs by 4 percent, (iv) competition does not seem to affect dollar obligations in a substantial way, (v) contract pre-payment financing increases the obligation of contracts from anywhere from 62 to 380 percent over non-financed contracts.

The second essay will turn to an aggregate focus, and look the impact of defense spending on state economic output. The analysis in chapter two attempts to estimate the state level fiscal multiplier, deploying Difference-in-Differences estimation as an attempt to filter out potential endogeneity bias. Interstate variation in procurement spending facilitates utilization of a natural experiment scenario, focusing on the spike in relative spending in 1982. The state level relative multiplier estimate here is 1.19, and captures the short run, impact effect of the 1982 spending spike.

Finally I will look at the relationship between defense contracting and income inequality. Military spending has typically been observed to have a negative relationship with income inequality. The third chapter examines the existence of this relationship, combining data on defense procurement with data on income inequality at the state level, in a longitudinal analysis across the United States. While the estimates do not suggest a significant relationship exists for the income share of the top ten percent of households, there is a significant positive relationship for the income share of top one percent households for an increase in defense procurement.





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