Technology and the era of the mass army

Massimiliano Gaetano Onorato, Kenneth Scheve, David Stasavage

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

We investigate how technology has influenced the size of armies. During the nineteenth century, the development of the railroad made it possible to field and support mass armies, significantly increasing the observed size of military forces. During the late twentieth century, further advances in technology made it possible to deliver explosive force from a distance and with precision, making mass armies less desirable. We find support for our technological account using a new data set covering thirteen great powers between 1600 and 2000. We find little evidence that the French Revolution was a watershed in terms of levels of mobilization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-481
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of Economic History
Volume74
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

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Army
Watershed
Railroad
20th century
Military
Mobilization
French Revolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Technology and the era of the mass army. / Onorato, Massimiliano Gaetano; Scheve, Kenneth; Stasavage, David.

In: Journal of Economic History, Vol. 74, No. 2, 2014, p. 449-481.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Onorato, Massimiliano Gaetano ; Scheve, Kenneth ; Stasavage, David. / Technology and the era of the mass army. In: Journal of Economic History. 2014 ; Vol. 74, No. 2. pp. 449-481.
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