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Civil Wars and International Trade

Author

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  • Philippe Martin
  • Thierry Mayer
  • Mathias Thoenig

Abstract

This article analyzes empirically the relationship between civil wars and international trade. We first show that trade destruction due to civil wars is very large and persistent and increases with the severity of the conflict. We then identify two effects that trade can have on the risk of civil conflicts: It may act as a deterrent if trade gains are put at risk during civil wars, but it may also act as an insurance if international trade provides a substitute to internal trade during civil wars. We find support for the presence of these two mechanisms and conclude that trade openness may deter the most severe civil wars (those that destroy the largest amount of trade) but may increase the risk of lower-scale conflicts. (JEL: F10, F51, F52, F59) (c) 2008 by the European Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Philippe Martin & Thierry Mayer & Mathias Thoenig, 2008. "Civil Wars and International Trade," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 541-550, 04-05.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:jeurec:v:6:y:2008:i:2-3:p:541-550
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(3), pages 691-751, September.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F51 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - International Conflicts; Negotiations; Sanctions
    • F52 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - National Security; Economic Nationalism
    • F59 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Other

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