The Calculus of Conquests: The Decline and Fall of the Returns to Roman Expansion
By R. Morris Coats, Gary M. Pecquet
This article appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of The Independent Review

Edward Gibbon showed how the increasing costs and declining benefits of conquest helped bring down the Roman empire, but he didn’t carefully identify who reaped the benefits and bore the costs. Recent research and modern economic tools can fill the missing gap in Gibbon’s analysis and illuminate Rome’s expansion and civil wars.

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