Norwegian military spending in fixed prices has declined over the past two decades, but remains at a high level historically. The defense burden (military expenditure as a share of the gross national product) has, however, declined for the past fifty years and may be heading for a historically low figure. Military spending is not a priority item in election debates, but as Norway is a rich country it can afford high absolute levels of military spending. The expansion of Norwegian sovereignty at sea and the enormous fish and petroleum resources found there, may also stimulate high military spending even though the traditional threat from the Cold War days are gone. This article updates the authors' earlier work on Norwegian military spending with time series for military spending 1887–2011 and for military employment 1865–2011.
A detailed accounting of the sources is found in:
Gleditsch, Nils Petter; Olav Bjerkholt & Ådne Cappelen, 1994. The Wages of Peace. Disarmament in a Small Industrialized Economy. London: SAGE. 216 pp. ISBN 0–8039–7750–6.
The update relies on figures from the Norwegian national accounts, Statistics Norway.
For a comparative study of military spending, see:
Gleditsch, Nils Petter; Olav Bjerkholt, Ådne Cappelen, Ron P. Smith & J. Paul Dunne, eds, 1996. The Peace Dividend. In: Contributions to Economic Analysis. Amsterdam: North-Holland. 625 pp. ISBN 0–444–82482–0.