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Conflict and Trade


  • Solomon William Polachek

    (Economics Department, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Hoover Institution, Stanford University)


This article applies microeconomic theory to illustrate the plausibility of a relationship between international trade and conflict. It is argued that the mutual dependence established between two trading partners (dyads) is sufficient to raise the costs of conflict, there-by diminishing levels of dyadic dispute. This hypothesis of a negative relationship between conflict and trade is tested using a ten-year thirty-country cross section merged from four separate data sources. It is found that ceteris paribus countries with the greatest levels of economic trade engage in the least amounts of hostility. In fact, a doubling of trade on average leads to a 20% diminution of belligerence. This relationship appears robust, holding even more strongly when statistical adjustments are made for causality.

Suggested Citation

  • Solomon William Polachek, 1980. "Conflict and Trade," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 24(1), pages 55-78, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jocore:v:24:y:1980:i:1:p:55-78

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