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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. 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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  6. Rauch, James E., 1999. "Networks versus markets in international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 7-35, June.
  7. Gregory D. Hess, 2002. "The Economic Welfare Cost of Conflict: An Empirical Assessment," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2002-08, Claremont Colleges.
  8. Olivier Compte & Philippe Jehiel, 2004. "Inefficiencies in Bargaining: Departing from Akerlof and Myerson-Satterthwaite," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000744, UCLA Department of Economics.
  9. Subramanian, Arvind & Wei, Shang-Jin, 2005. "The WTO Promotes Trade, Strongly But Unevenly," CEPR Discussion Papers 5122, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  12. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1995. "On the Number and Size of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  14. 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.
  15. Garfinkel, M.R., 1992. ""Domestic Politics and International Conflict"," Papers 90-92-30, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
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  18. Alejandro Izquierdo & Jacques Morriset & Marcelo Olarreaga, 2003. "Information Diffusion in International Markets," Research Department Publications 4335, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  19. 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.
  20. Rose, Andrew K, 2003. "Which International Institutions Promote International Trade?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3764, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Alesina, Alberto & Spolaore, Enrico, 2005. "War, peace, and the size of countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(7), pages 1333-1354, July.
  22. Fearon, James D., 1995. "Rationalist explanations for war," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(03), pages 379-414, June.
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  24. Herschel I. Grossman, 2013. "Choosing Between Peace and War," Annals of Economics and Finance, Society for AEF, vol. 14(2), pages 765-783, November.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
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