Foreign direct investment and militarized international conflict
Liberals claim that countries avoid conflict in order not to disrupt economically beneficial exchange. The statement that economic integration reduces the likelihood of conflict is largely based on the effects of trade. A similar rationale can be applied to economic interdependence in the form of international capital exchange. A state is expected to avoid political risk, especially severe forms such as militarized disputes, in order not to deter investors. This study tests, on the dyadic and monadic levels of analyses, whether the liberal peace proposition holds when economic integration is operationalized as foreign direct investment (FDI) stocks, inflows, and outflows. The results for the years 1980-2000 indicate that inflows and stock of foreign investment reduce the risk of an outbreak of a fatal dispute, regardless of whether they are tested in a single equation or a simultaneous equation model. Thus, reverse causality does not bias the pacifying effect of foreign investment inflows and stock. The results also support the underlying notion of the commercial peace that militarized conflicts inhibit foreign investment. The onset of a fatal conflict reduces FDI inflows, and, if tested in a two-stage instrumental variable approach, FDI stock, the most complete measure of economic integration through foreign investment. Accounting for endogeneity seems particularly important when analyzing the link between the onset of fatal disputes and the outflow of FDI.
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