Date of Submission

Spring 5-10-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in International Conflict Management (Ph.D. INCM)

Committee Chair/First Advisor

Marcus Marktanner

Committee Member

Luc Noiset

Committee Member

Jack Zheng


The social market economy was developed in Germany during the interwar period amidst political and economic turmoil. With clear demarcation lines differentiating it from socialism and laissez-faire capitalism, the social market economy became a formula for peace and prosperity for post WWII Germany. Since then, the success of the social market economy has inspired many other countries to adopt its principles. Drawing on evidence from economic history and the history of economic thought, this thesis first reviews the evolution of the fundamental principles that form the foundation of social-market economic thought. Blending the micro-economic utility maximization framework with traditional growth theory, I provide theoretical support that aggregate social welfare is maximized in a stylized social market economy. Despite the presence of extensive qualitative research, no attempts have yet been made to measure social market economic performance empirically or to quantify the effects of social market economic principles on peace and prosperity. Thus, I explore potential indicators to develop a social market economic performance index. I provide empirical evidence that supports the notion that the application of social market economic principles carries a social peace dividend, creates more equal opportunity, promotes ecological sustainability, and generates higher per capita incomes. I use the empirical results to build an interactive web application that allows for the simulation, assessment, and visualization of the economic-performance effects of applying social market economic principles to the economies of 165 countries. Lastly, the interactive web application also allows for modification of the social market economic principles and reports the estimated impact on peace and prosperity in these countries.