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The geography of conflicts and free trade agreements

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Author Info

  • Mathias Thoenig

    (Centre Universitaire d'Informatique)

  • Thierry Mayer

    (Département d'économie)

  • Philippe Martin

    (Département d'économie)

Abstract

We analyze the interaction of economic and political determinants of free trade agreements (FTA). In addition to standard trade gains, FTAs can promote peaceful relations by offering a political forum and by increasing the opportunity cost of conflicts that disrupt trade. If policy makers believe in such pacifying effects of FTAs, country-pairs with large trade gains from FTAs and high probability of conflict are more likely to sign a FTA. Using data on the 1950-2000 period, we show that this complementarity between economic and political gains is at work in the geography of FTAs. Country pairs characterized by a high frequency of old wars - which we use as a proxy of the probability of conflict - are shown to be more likely to sign FTAs, the more so the higher the trade gains from a FTA. These trade gains are estimated by a theory-driven empirical strategy to disentangle them from the political factors. We also show that, contrary to old wars, recent wars make it more difficult to negotiate a FTA. This suggests the existence of windows of opportunity to lock-in FTAs and peace. Finally multilateral trade openness, because it reduces the opportunity cost of a bilateral conflict, increases the political incentive to sign FTAs.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Sciences Po in its series Sciences Po publications with number 7740.

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Date of creation: Mar 2010
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Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/c8dmi8nm4pdjkuc9g8m2hh491

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Keywords: free trading arrangements; trade and war;

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References

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  1. Guy Michaels & Xiaojia Zhi, 2010. "Freedom Fries," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 256-81, July.
  2. Egger, Peter & Larch, Mario, 2008. "Interdependent preferential trade agreement memberships: An empirical analysis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 384-399, December.
  3. Marco Fugazza & Frédéric Robert-Nicoud, 2010. "The 'Emulator Effect' of the Uruguay Round on US Regionalism," CEP Discussion Papers dp0973, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2009. "War and Relatedness," NBER Working Papers 15095, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Antoni Estevadeordal & Caroline Freund & Emanuel Ornelas, 2008. "Does Regionalism Affect Trade Liberalization toward NonMembers?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(4), pages 1531-1575, November.
  6. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke & Soderbom, Mans, 2001. "On the duration of civil war," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2681, The World Bank.
  7. repec:hal:cesptp:halshs-00270618 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Philippe Martin & Thierry Mayer & Mathias Thoenig, 2008. "Make Trade Not War?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 865-900.
  9. Baldwin, Richard & Jaimovich, Dany, 2009. "Are Free Trade Agreements Contagious?," CCES Discussion Paper Series 12, Center for Research on Contemporary Economic Systems, Graduate School of Economics, Hitotsubashi University.
  10. Céline CARRERE, 2003. "Revisiting the Effects of Regional Trading Agreements on trade flows with Proper Specification of the Gravity Model," Working Papers 200310, CERDI.
  11. Vicard, Vincent, 2012. "Trade, conflict, and political integration: Explaining the heterogeneity of regional trade agreements," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 54-71.
  12. Baier, Scott L. & Bergstrand, Jeffrey H., 2004. "Economic determinants of free trade agreements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 29-63, October.
  13. Baier, Scott L. & Bergstrand, Jeffrey H., 2007. "Do free trade agreements actually increase members' international trade?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 72-95, March.
  14. Fearon, James D., 1995. "Rationalist explanations for war," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(03), pages 379-414, June.
  15. Vincent Vicard, 2006. "Trade, Conflicts, and Political Integration: the Regional Interplays," CESifo Working Paper Series 1839, CESifo Group Munich.
  16. Mansfield, Edward D. & Pevehouse, Jon C., 2000. "Trade Blocs, Trade Flows, and International Conflict," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(04), pages 775-808, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Florian Mölders, 2012. "On the Path to Trade Liberalization: Political Regimes in International Trade Negotiations," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1245, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  2. Marco Fugazza & Frédéric Robert-Nicoud, 2010. "The 'emulator effect' of the Uruguay round on US regionalism," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 28723, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  3. Richard Baldwin & Dany Jaimovich, 2010. "Are Free Trade Agreements Contagious?," NBER Working Papers 16084, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Vincent Vicard, 2008. "Trade, conflicts and political integration : explaining the heterogeneity of regional trade agreements," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne bla08022, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  5. Lan, Xiaohuan & Li, Ben, 2011. "Nationalism and international trade: theory and evidence," MPRA Paper 36412, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 03 Feb 2012.

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