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Globalization and Domestic Conflict

  • Michelle R. Garfinkel
  • Stergios Skaperdas
  • Constantinos Syropoulos

We examine how globalization affects trade patterns and welfare when conflict prevails domestically. We do so in a simple model of trade, in which a natural resource like oil is contested by competing groups using real resources (”guns”). Thus, conflict is viewed as ultimately stemming from imperfect property-rights enforcement. When comparing autarky with free trade in such a setting, the gains from trade have to be weighed against the possibly higher resource costs of conflict. We find that importers of the contested resource gain unambiguously. By contrast, countries exporting the contested resource will lose under free trade, unless the international price of the resource is sufficiently high. Regardless of what price obtains in international markets, countries tend to over-export the contested resource relative to what we would observe if there were no conflict; for some range of prices, the presence of conflict even inverts the country's comparative advantage. We find further that an increase in the international price of the contested resource over an even wider range reduces welfare, an instance of the "natural resource curse".

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1510.

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Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1510
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  1. Jose Luis Evia & Roberto Laserna & Stergios Skaperdas, 2008. "Socio-Political Conflict and Eonomic Performance in Bolivia," Working Papers 070814, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  2. Stergios Skaperdas & Constantinos Syropoulos, 2002. "Insecure Property and the Efficiency of Exchange," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(476), pages 133-146, January.
  3. Roland Hodler, 2004. "The Curse of Natural Resources in Fractionalized Countries," Diskussionsschriften dp0404, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  4. Skaperdas, S. & Syropoulos, C., 2000. "Guns, Butter, and Openness: On The Relationship Between Security and Trade," Papers 00-01-23, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
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  17. Jack Hirshleifer, 1989. "Conflict and rent-seeking success functions: Ratio vs. difference models of relative success," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 63(2), pages 101-112, November.
  18. Gregory D. Hess, 2002. "The Economic Welfare Cost of Conflict: An Empirical Assessment," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2002-08, Claremont Colleges.
  19. Jagdish N. Bhagwati, 2004. "In Defense of Globalization: It Has a Human Face," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 94(6), pages 9-20, November-.
  20. Bhagwati, Jagdish N, 1982. "Directly Unproductive, Profit-seeking (DUP) Activities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(5), pages 988-1002, October.
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