We examine whether government ideology was correlated with the growth in military expenditure in Germany over the period 1951-2011. By using various measures of government ideology, the results do not show any effect. The exception is an ideology measure based on the Comparative Manifesto Project (Left-Right scale): using this measure, the results show that the growth in military expenditure increased by about 2.4 percentage points, when the ideology variable (right-wing) increased by one standard deviation. This effect, however, is based on observations until the early 1960s and cannot be generalized. The major political parties agreed on how to evaluate international risks and threats. Government ideology retired to the background. We conjecture that the consensus among the major parties will persist – even if military spending needs to be increased in response to new international risks and threats.
military expenditure partisan politics economic policy-making Germany