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Make trade not war ?

  • Martin, Philippe
  • Mayer, Thierry
  • Thoenig, Mathias

This paper analyses theoretically and empirically the relationship between trade and war. We show that the intuition that trade promotes peace is only partially true even in a model where trade is beneficial to all, war reduces trade and leaders take into account the costs of war. When war can occur because of the presence of asymmetric information, the probability of escalation is indeed lower for countries that trade more bilaterally because of the opportunity cost associated with the loss of trade gains. However, countries more open to global trade have a higher probability of war because multilateral trade openness decreases bilateral dependence to any given country. Using a theoretically-based econometric model, we test our predictions on a large dataset of military conflicts in the period 1948-2001. We find strong evidence for the contrasting effects of bilateral and multilateral trade. Our empirical results also confirm our theoretical prediction that multilateral trade openness increases more the probability of war between proximate countries. This may explain why military conflicts have become more localized and less global over time.

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Paper provided by CEPREMAP in its series CEPREMAP Working Papers (Docweb) with number 0515.

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Length: 42 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpm:docweb:0515
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  1. Alejandro Izquierdo & Jacques Morriset & Marcelo Olarreaga, 2003. "Information Diffusion in International Markets," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6509, Inter-American Development Bank.
  2. Rose, Andrew K, 2002. "Do We Really Know that the WTO Increases Trade?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3538, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Subramanian, Arvind & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2007. "The WTO promotes trade, strongly but unevenly," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 151-175, May.
  4. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2001. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 8079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
  6. Enrico Spolaore & Alberto Alesina, 2001. "War, Peace and the Size of Countries," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1937, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  7. Spolaore, Enrico & Alesina, Alberto, 2006. "Conflict, Defense Spending, and the Number of Nations," Scholarly Articles 4553016, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Rose, Andrew K, 2003. "Which International Institutions Promote International Trade?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3764, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Alesina, Alberto & Spolaore, Enrico, 1997. "On the Number and Size of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1027-56, November.
  10. Herschel I. Grossman, 2003. "Choosing Between Peace and War," NBER Working Papers 10180, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Baldwin, R E & Murray, Tracy, 1977. "MFN Tariff Reductions and Developing Country Trade Benefits under the GSP," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 87(345), pages 30-46, March.
  13. Gilat Levy & Ronny Razin, 2004. "It Takes Two: An Explanation for the Democratic Peace," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(1), pages 1-29, 03.
  14. James E. Rauch, 1996. "Networks versus Markets in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 5617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Gregory D. Hess & Athanasios Orphanides, 1999. "War and Democracy," CESifo Working Paper Series 201, CESifo Group Munich.
  16. Olivier Compte & Philippe Jehiel, 2004. "Inefficiencies in Bargaining: Departing from Akerlof and Myerson-Satterthwaite," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000744, UCLA Department of Economics.
  17. Gregory D. Hess, 2003. "The Economic Welfare Cost of Conflict: An Empirical Assessment," CESifo Working Paper Series 852, CESifo Group Munich.
  18. Roger B. Myerson & Mark A. Satterthwaite, 1981. "Efficient Mechanisms for Bilateral Trading," Discussion Papers 469S, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  19. Gary Clyde Hufbauer & Jeffrey J. Schott & Kimberly Ann Elliott, 1990. "Economic Sanctions Reconsidered: 2nd Edition," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 82.
  20. repec:rus:hseeco:123558 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Hess, Gregory D & Orphanides, Athanasios, 1995. "War Politics: An Economic, Rational-Voter Framework," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(4), pages 828-46, September.
  22. repec:rus:hseeco:123708 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Daniel M. Jones & Stuart A. Bremer & J. David Singer, 1996. "Militarized Interstate Disputes, 1816–1992: Rationale, Coding Rules, and Empirical Patterns," Conflict Management and Peace Science, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 15(2), pages 163-213, September.
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  26. Cremer, Jacques & McLean, Richard P, 1988. "Full Extraction of the Surplus in Bayesian and Dominant Strategy Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(6), pages 1247-57, November.
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