Rosella Cappella Zielinski, Ph.D.

Boston University

Country: United States (Massachusetts)

Research Interests

Conflict Processes & War

Political Economy

Specific Areas of Interest

War Finance

Military Coalitions

Defense Spending

My Research:

Rosella Cappella Zielinski (Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania) is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Boston University who specializes in study the political economy of security. Her primary research interests include the mobilization of resources for war, defense spending, and conflict dynamics. 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, and the Air and Space Power Journal.  She has also written for Foreign Affairs, Texas National Security Review, and War on the Rocks


Books Written:

(2016) How States Pay for Wars, Cornell University Press

Tags: Conflict Processes & War, Political Economy, Bureaucracy, Public Opinion

Armies fight battles, states fight wars. To focus solely on armies is to neglect the broader story of victory and defeat. Military power stems from an economic base, and without wealth, soldiers cannot be paid, weapons cannot be procured, and food cannot be bought. War finance is among the most consequential decisions any state makes: how a state finances a war affects not only its success on the battlefield but also its economic stability and its leadership tenure. In How States Pay for Wars, Rosella Cappella Zielinski clarifies several critical dynamics lying at the nexus of financial and military policy.Cappella Zielinski has built a custom database on war funding over the past two centuries, and she combines those data with qualitative analyses of Truman's financing of the Korean War, Johnson’s financing of the Vietnam War, British financing of World War II and the Crimean War, and Russian and Japanese financing of the Russo-Japanese War. She argues that leaders who attempt to maximize their power at home, and state power abroad, are in a constant balancing act as they try to win wars while remaining in office. As a result of political risks, they prefer war finance policies that meet the needs of the war effort within the constraints of the capacity of the state.



Tags: Bureaucracy, Conflict Processes & War, Gender and Politics

The U.S. Air Force is not meeting the needs of field-grade officers and their spouses, directly affecting talent management. American society now promotes dual-career households, demands post-graduate education for promotions, and puts extreme value on the education of our children. Yet the Air Force, the youngest of America’s military services, maintains the status quo vis-à-vis the expectation that military families will sacrifice their needs. Military spouses want to forecast their careers, capitalize on the benefits of their education, and ensure stability for the ever-increasing importance of their children’s social and academic lives. Today, educated and driven spouses are changing the paradigm of today’s officer retention. Field-grade officers, facing the gauntlet of intermediate developmental education, squadron command, senior developmental education, group command, and wing command, are walking away. Rather than capitalizing on their own talent and ensuring the Air Force can fill key and essential assignments, many of these officers are turning down professional military education and/or command opportunities. Unless drastic steps are taken to support spousal employment, the U.S. Air Force will continue the downward trend of losing its top talent, and America’s competitive advantage will cease to exist.

(2018) U.S. Wars Abroad Increase Inequality at Home Who Foots the Bill for American Hegemony?, Foreign Affairs

Tags: Conflict Processes & War, Class, Inequality, and Labor Politics, Political Economy

Warfare and Inequality

Media Appearances:

TV Appearances:

(2018) Pell Center Story on the Public Square

The costs of war are measured lives and treasure. As of the day we produced this episode, 6,979 Americans have lost their lives in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Dr. Rosella Cappella Zielinski warns that the financial costs of these wars have profound meaning for the United States, our politics, and our economy.