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Networks of Military Alliances, Wars, and International Trade

  • Matthew O. Jackson
  • Stephen M. Nei

We investigate the role of networks of alliances in preventing (multilateral) interstate wars. We first show that, in the absence of international trade, no network of alliances is peaceful and stable. We then show that international trade induces peaceful and stable networks: trade increases the density of alliances so that countries are less vulnerable to attack and also reduces countries' incentives to attack an ally. We present historical data on wars and trade, noting that the dramatic drop in interstate wars since 1950, and accompanying densification and stabilization of alliances, are consistent with the model but not other prominent theories.

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Paper provided by in its series Papers with number 1405.6400.

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Date of creation: May 2014
Date of revision: Jun 2015
Handle: RePEc:arx:papers:1405.6400
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  1. Martin, Philippe & Mayer, Thierry & Thoenig, Mathias, 2005. "Make trade not war ?," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) 0515, CEPREMAP.
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  10. Michael D. König & Dominic Rohner & Mathias Thoenig & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2015. "Networks in Conflict: Theory and Evidence from the Great War of Africa," HiCN Working Papers 195, Households in Conflict Network.
  11. Bernhofen, Daniel M. & El-Sahli, Zouheir & Kneller, Richard, 2013. "Estimating the Effects of the Container Revolution on World Trade," Working Papers 2013:4, Lund University, Department of Economics.
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  13. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum, 2002. "Technology, Geography, and Trade," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(5), pages 1741-1779, September.
  14. David Rietzke & Brian Roberson, 2010. "The Robustness of ‘Enemy-of-My-Enemy-is-My-Friend’ Alliances," Purdue University Economics Working Papers 1258, Purdue University, Department of Economics.
  15. Paul Krugman, 1995. "Growing World Trade: Causes and Consequences," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 327-377.
  16. Matthew O. Jackson & Tomas Rodriguez-Barraquer & Xu Tan, 2012. "Social Capital and Social Quilts: Network Patterns of Favor Exchange," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 1857-97, August.
  17. Antoni Estevadeordal & Brian Frantz & Alan M. Taylor, 2003. "The Rise and Fall of World Trade, 1870–1939," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(2), pages 359-407.
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