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Defence expenditure and public debt in Greece: A non-linear relationship


[ 1 ] Research Department, Bank of Greece | [ 2 ] Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics, The American College of Greece

Year of publication


Published in

Security and Defence Quarterly

Journal year: 2023 | Journal volume: vol. 41 | Journal number: no. 1

Article type

scientific article

Publication language


  • Defence expenditure
  • Public debt
  • 3SLS

EN The aim of this paper is to consider and evaluate the widely–used argument attributing the growth of the public debt of Greece in recent decades to the country’s defence expenditure. We employ a two-equation model that focuses on the determinants of the military debt and how this has affected the public debt. The source of our military debt data is the Hellenic General Accounting Office, an option taken to cope with confidentiality issues. Finally, we insist on focusing on the expenditure on defence equipment imports rather than the total defence spending that the literature mostly covers, for reasons extensively analysed. Our methodology firstly assumes a linear relationship between military debt and public debt. We solve the system using 3SLS to obtain consistent and efficient estimates to derive interesting policy implications. The employment of a non-linear quadratic form not previously adopted proves to be superior in terms of performance and reveals the complexity of the above relationship. These point to the conclusion that the defence equipment purchases made since the beginning of the eighties have not had a decisive impact on the public debt of Greece. The defence equipment purchases made since the beginning of the eighties represent a very low percentage of the total public debt of Greece. Moreover, these are considered to be an investment activity rather than consumer spending, which has been acknowledged in the literature as the primary cause of Greece’s high indebtedness and the ensuing economic crisis.

Date of online publication


Pages (from - to)

1 - 14




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