IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Third-party trade, political similarity, and dyadic conflict


  • Timothy M Peterson

    (Department of Political Science, Oklahoma State University,


A growing literature maintains that trade is pacifying to interstate relations, and recent work on trade networks suggests that this pacifying effect extends to indirect trade ties. In this article, it is argued that third-party trade can also have an aggravating effect within dyads, by threatening to alter the dyadic balance of capabilities. For the state trading outside the dyad, trade gains from third parties provide incentives to demand change in the dyadic status quo and finance violent conflict when dyadic disputes arise. For the state whose dyadic partner trades with third parties, potential for the trading state to grow increasingly more powerful encourages action to prevent erosion of the non-trading state’s relative power. These aggravating effects are conditional, however, on dyadic political similarity, as concerns for relative capability shifts decrease when states do not view their dyadic partners as threats. Hypotheses derived from this argument are tested on data spanning 1885 to 2000. Results support these hypotheses, suggesting important implications for the literature on trade and conflict. When extending the relative gains arguments associated with realism beyond the dyad, a clear, yet conditional, aggravating effect of third-party trade emerges.

Suggested Citation

  • Timothy M Peterson, 2011. "Third-party trade, political similarity, and dyadic conflict," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 48(2), pages 185-200, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:48:y:2011:i:2:p:185-200

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:48:y:2011:i:2:p:185-200. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publications). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.