The past decade has been rife with economic crises, austerity measures, and increased financial globalization. This economic climate has had serious and sometimes counterintuitive ramifications for national and international security. The study of the intersection of economics and security requires an interdisciplinary approach, involving insights and tools from the fields of Political Science, Economics, History, Sociology, and Anthropology, among others. Founded in 2014, our goal is to expand and promote the study of the relationship between economics and security by fostering a network of academics and supporting policy-relevant academic research and teaching.
Since then, the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies’ Project on Political Economy of Security (PPES) has collaborated with and invited numerous academics and graduate students from universities around the world to present their ongoing research. These events have centered on presentations of academic work at various stages of completion, ranging from final papers to early manuscript workshops.
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Kaija E. Schilde is an Associate Professor at the Boston University Pardee School of Global Studies. She is currently working on a book manuscript addressing why states increasingly outsource the economic ‘public good’ of security to firms and industries, titled Outsourcing Security, Managing Risk: Hiding the National Security State in Global Markets. Her first book, The Political Economy of European Security (Cambridge University Press, 2017) theorizes EU-interest group state-society relations, identifying the political development of security and defense institutions as an outcome of industry interest and mobilization. Her research spans multiple dimensions of comparative national and European security institutions along the public-private divide, including the causes and consequences of military spending; the relationship between spending, innovation, and capabilities; the politics of defense protectionism; and the political economy of border security. She has published articles in the Journal of Common Market Studies, Journal of Global Security Studies, Security Studies, European Security, and the Journal of Peace Research. She has a policy background in defense and transatlantic security institutions.
Rosella Cappella Zielinski is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Boston University and non-resident fellow at the Brute Krulak Center for Innovation and Creativity at Marine Corps University who specializes in the study of political economy of security. She is the author of How States Pay for Wars (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2016) winner of the 2017 American Political Science Association Robert L. Jervis and Paul W. Schroeder Best Book Award in International History and Politics. Her other works can be found in the Journal of Peace Research, Conflict Management and Peace Science, Security Studies, European Journal of International Relations, Journal of Global Security Studies, as well as Foreign Affairs, Texas National Security Review, and War on the Rocks.
Boston University Project on the Political Economy of Security Virtual Speaker Series
The BU Project on the Political Economy of Security Virtual Speaker Series hosts scholars and public intellectuals interested in advancing the intersection of political economy and security. All disciplines welcome. If you are interested in presenting at the workshop or have any other questions, please reach out to one of the organizers. You can sign up for our event announcements and the pre-circulated papers in the “Sign Up for Our Mailing List” section above.
Virtual Speaker Series Co-Organizers
Joshua Alley is a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the Democratic Statecraft Lab and the Department of Politics at the University of Virginia. His research examines how alliance participation affects military spending and the domestic politics of alliances, as well as the political economy of intra-state conflict. His research is published or forthcoming in International Interactions and two edited volumes. He received a Ph.D. in Political Science from Texas A&M University in 2020, and also holds a BA in International Affairs and Political Science from Gettysburg College.
Florian Bodamer is a PhD Candidate with the Department of Political Science at Boston University. His research focuses on the political economy of defense industries and statebuilding in advanced industrialized economies. His work is forthcoming in a Brookings Institute Press edited volume. He received an MA in International Affairs from Boston University and a BA in International Relations and Economics from the University of Miami.
Benjamin O. Fordham is professor of political science at Binghamton University (SUNY). He received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina in 1994. His research concerns the influence of domestic political and economic considerations on foreign policy choices, especially on trade policy, military spending, the use of force, and alliance formation. He has taught classes about international conflict, international political economy, American foreign policy, and a variety of other issues in the field.
Mark R. Wilson is a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is the author of the books The Business of Civil War (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006) and Destructive Creation: American Business and the Winning of World War II (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2016), and co-editor, with Jennifer Mittelstadt, of a volume of essays, The Military and the Market (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2022). He has served as a trustee of the Business History Conference; he also worked as an International Visiting Professor at Heidelberg University, in Germany. In 2022-24, his research and writing are being supported by the Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program, as he works on a book that will provide a new history of the U.S. military-industrial complex, from the early Cold War to the present day.
Alexander Kirss is a PhD Candidate in the political science department at George Washington University and a PhD Candidate in Residence at the Elliott School’s Institute for Security and Conflict Studies (ISCS). His research investigates how businesses are affected by, respond to, and shape large scale international shocks such as interstate war, geopolitical competition, and pandemics. He previously earned a M.A. in international relations at the University of Chicago and a B.A. in political science at Williams College.
Upcoming PPES events can be viewed on the Pardee School calendar.
To remain updated on our events, please join the PPES mailing list!
If you would like to propose an event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
April 29, 2022: Mario Daniels, Georgetown, and John Krige, Georgia Institute of Technology, “The Hidden Face of the National Security State: Export Controls Over Knowledge and Know-How,” with Discussant – Michael Falcone, Yale University.
April 15, 2022: Chelsea Estancona, University of South Carolina, “Rebels’ Economic Contracts and Civilian Victimization” with Discussant Megan Stewart, American University.
March 25, 2022: Emily Meierding, Naval Post Graduate School, “Arctic Fever: Why We Keep Worrying About Resource Competition in the Far North” with Discussant Jonathan Markowitz, University of Southern California.
February 25, 2022: Erik Sand, Naval War College, “Innovation and State Transfer of Advanced Military Technology” with Discussant John R. Ferris, University of Calgary.
February 11, 2022: Joshua Alley, University of Virginia, “Economic Bargaining in Asymmetric Alliances” with Discussant Edward Mansfield, University of Pennsylvania.
December 10, 2021: J. Andres Gannon, University of California San Diego and Belfer Center, “A Division of Defense Labor Across Nations: A Theory of the Shared Production of Military Capabilities,” with Discussant Steven Brooks, Dartmouth College.
November 19, 2021: Jonathan Caverley, Naval War College, “When Do Arms Influence? A Comparative Approach to Arms Transfers and Civil War Outcomes,” with Discussant Mauro Gilli, Center for Security Studies – ETH-Zurich.
October 29, 2021: Leah Matchett, Stanford University, “Engaged Hawks and Quiet Doves: Reevaluating Congressional Hawkishness,” with Discussant Benjamin Fordham, Binghamton University.
October 8, 2021: A.J. Murphy, Brandeis University, “If You Can’t Beat Them, Own Them: How The Cold War U.S. Military Used Competition to Build Family Housing and then Nationalized It,” with Discussant TBA.
September 17, 2021: Sabreena Croteau, University of Chicago, “Securing the Open Door: Security, Economy, and Variation in Naval Capacity,” with Discussant Jonathan Markowitz, University of Southern California.
September 3, 2021: Helen Jang, University of Florida, “Selective Escalation in the South China Sea: China’s Energy Mercantilism, Asymmetric Trade Dependence, and Militarized Maritime Disputes,” with Discussant Emily Meierding, Naval Postgraduate School
May 14, 2021: Roya Izadi, Binghamton University, “State Security or Exploitation: A Theory of Military Involvement in the Economy,” with Discussant Erica de Bruin, Hamilton College.
April 23, 2021: Jonathan Boff, University of Birmingham, “Loans or Gifts? Britain’s Financial Support to her Allies, 1793-1919,” with Discussant Rosella Cappella Zielinski, Boston University.
March 5, 2021: Kate Epstein, Rutgers University, “The Secret Origins of the Pax Americana: Defense Contracting, Intellectual Property, and National Security, 1900-1945,” with Discussant Eugene Gholz, University of Notre Dame.
February 12, 2021: Jordan Becker, Active Duty US Army Officer and Research Fellow at IES, Sciences Po, and IRSEM, “Populism and Burden-Sharing in the Transatlantic Community,” with Discussant Joshua Alley, University of Virginia. Note: Research for this project was conducted at IES and represents the views of the author and is not an official government position.
January 22, 2021: Jiyoung Ko, Bates College and Sung Mi, Stanford University, “Business as Usual: Why Nationalist Boycotts Do Not Endure”, with Discussant Kristin Vekasi, University of Maine.
January 15, 2021: Dani Nedal, Carnegie Mellon and Nikhil Kalyanpur, Princeton’s Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance, “The Passions and the Interest Rates: How the Prospects for Growth Influence the Prospects for Peace,” with Discussant Thomas Oatley, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
October 9, 2020: Sanne Verschuren, Brown University, “The Return of Star Wars? Examining the development of missile defense in the Post-Cold War Period,” with Discussant Stacie Goddard.
October 2, 2020: Michael Brenes, Yale University, “Squandering the ‘Peace Dividend’: Domestic Politics and the Political Economy of Defense Conversion, 1989-2000,” with Discussant Kaija Schilde.
September 25, 2020: Mark Wilson, University of North Carolina – Charlotte, “Loosening Up: The Transformation of US Military Sensibilities about Contractor Profitability, 1950s-2010s,” with Discussant Ben Fordham.
August 21, 2020: Julie George, Cornell University, “Emerging Technologies: Implications and Prospects of their Proliferation,” with Discussants Fiona Cunningham and Jane Vaynma.
August 28, 2020: Alex Kirss, George Washington University, “Why Businesses Oppose War,” with Discussant Patrick MacDonald.
August 7, 2020: Patick Shea, University of Houston, “U.S. Patronage, State Capacity, and Civil Conflict,” with Discussant Alex Kirss.
July 31, 2020: Audrye Wong, Belfer Center, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, “Crafting Payoffs: Strategies and Effectiveness of Economic Statecraft,” with Discussant Paul Poast.
April, 15 2020: Michael Brenes, Yale University, “Defense Spending and Economic Inequality in the United States: A Historical Assessment.”
April, 13 2020: Jairus Victor Grove, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, “Savage Ecology: War and Geopolitics at the End of the World.”
February 26, 2020: Peter Andreas, Brown University, “Killer High: A History of War in Six Drugs.”
January 29, 2020: Jonathan D. Askonas, The Catholic University of America, “Money is not a Weapons System.”
December 4, 2019: Michael Beckley, Tufts University, “Red Flags: Assessing the Security Implications of China’s Economic Slowdown.”
November, 12 2019: Linda Bilmes, Harvard University, “War Finance.”
October 2, 2019: Danielle Gilbert, George Washington University, “The Logic of Coercive Kidnapping.”
September 20, 2019: Jeffery Friedman “The Strange Political Logic of Defense Spending: Issues and Images in U.S. Foreign Policy.”
April 24, 2019: Neta Crawford, Boston University, “Blood and Treasure: Reconceptualizing the Costs of War.“
April 10, 2019: Mariya Grinberg, University of Chicago, “Planning for the Short Haul: Trading with the Enemy in Wartime.”
April 3, 2019: Jose Velasco, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, entitled “Why Mexico’s Illegal Drug Business Became So Violent? The Role of Market Overcrowding and State Regulation.”
February 13, 2019: Andres Gannon, University of California San Diego, “Use Their Force: Interstate Security Alignments and the Distribution of Military Capabilities.”
October 19, 2018: Jayita Sarkar, Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, “The Economics of American Nonproliferation Policy.“
October 5, 2018: Xiaodon Liang, Fletcher School at Tufts University, “Arms Trade, Corruption and Political Finance.“
September 28, 2018: Paul Musgrave,University of Massachusetts Amherst,”Federation of Liberty: International Society and Hierarchy Among United States.”
June 5, 2018: Sascha Lohmann, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, “Unilateral Economic Sanctions in Transatlantic Relations.”
April 25, 2018: Rosella Cappella Zielinski, Boston University, “Forged By War.”
April 20, 2018: Andrea Gilli, Belfer Center, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and Mauro Gilli, Center for Security Studies, ETH-Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), “Run Loud, Run Shallow: Does North Korean Ballistic Missile Submarine Program Hold Water.”
April 13, 2018: Nancy Hite-Rubin, The Fletcher School, Tufts University, “A Corruption, Military Procurement and FDI Nexus?”
December 13, 2017: Sanne Verschuren, Brown University, “The Messy Politics of Arms Exports.”
October 6, 2017: Andrew James, University of Manchester, “Assessing the Link between Dependence and Vulnerability: China in the U.S. Defense Supply Chain.”
April 22, 2016: Stephen G. Brooks, Dartmouth University, “Evaluating Eight Middle-Range Theories from Smith’s Wealth of Nations.”
April 8, 2016: Jonathan Caverley, MIT, “Who’s Arming Asia and Why it Matters.”
February 26, 2016: Jonathan Kirshner, Cornell University, “Political Economy and International Security: The State of the Art.”
April 24, 2015: Jennifer Erickson, Boston College, “The Politics of Arms Export Control.”
April 22, 2015: Boston Area Working Group Launch, Boston University, Pardee School of Global Studies.
April 17, 2015: International Studies Association Annual Conference, New Orleans, “The Political Economy of National Security: A New Research Agenda of Military Power, War and Peace in an Era of Austerity.”
April 9, 2015: Mai’a K. Davis Cross, Northeastern University, “European Security Integration: The Role of a Military Epistemic Community.”