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Growth, Import Dependence and War

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  • Bonfatti, Roberto
  • O'Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj

Abstract

Existing theories of pre-emptive war typically predict that the leading country may choose to launch a war on a follower who is catching up, since the follower cannot credibly commit to not use their increased power in the future. But it was Japan who launched a war against the West in 1941, not the West that pre-emptively attacked Japan. Similarly, many have argued that trade makes war less likely, yet World War I erupted at a time of unprecedented globalization. This paper develops a theoretical model of the relationship between trade and war which can help to explain both these observations. Dependence on strategic imports can lead follower nations to launch pre-emptive wars when they are potentially subject to blockade.

Suggested Citation

  • Bonfatti, Roberto & O'Rourke, Kevin Hjortshøj, 2014. "Growth, Import Dependence and War," CEPR Discussion Papers 10073, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10073
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ronald Findlay & Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2007. "Power and Plenty: Trade, War and the World Economy in the Second Millennium (Preface)," Trinity Economics Papers tep0107, Trinity College Dublin, Department of Economics.
    2. Katherine Barbieri, 1996. "Economic Interdependence: A Path to Peace or a Source of Interstate Conflict?," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 33(1), pages 29-49, February.
    3. Fearon, James D., 1995. "Rationalist explanations for war," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(03), pages 379-414, June.
    4. N. Gregory Mankiw & David Romer & David N. Weil, 1992. "A Contribution to the Empirics of Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 407-437.
    5. Gene M. Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1993. "Innovation and Growth in the Global Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262570971, March.
    6. Reuven Glick & Alan M. Taylor, 2010. "Collateral Damage: Trade Disruption and the Economic Impact of War," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(1), pages 102-127, February.
    7. Powell, Robert, 2006. "War as a Commitment Problem," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(01), pages 169-203, January.
    8. Michelle R. Garfinkel & Stergios Skaperdas & Constantinos Syropoulos, 2010. "Trade in the Shadow of Power," Working Papers 101105, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2011.
    9. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2001. "Globalization and History: The Evolution of a Nineteenth-Century Atlantic Economy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262650592, March.
    10. Ronald Findlay & Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2007. "Introduction to Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium," Introductory Chapters,in: Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium Princeton University Press.
    11. Ronald Findlay & Kevin H. O'Rourke, 2007. "Preface to Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium," Introductory Chapters,in: Power and Plenty: Trade, War, and the World Economy in the Second Millennium Princeton University Press.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kevin Hjortshøj O'Rourke, 2017. "Two Great Trade Collapses: The Intewar Period & Great Recession Compared," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _159, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    2. Kevin Hjortshøj O'Rourke, 2017. "Two Great Trade Collapses: The Interwar Period & Great Recession Compared," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _159, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    blockade; history; trade; war;

    JEL classification:

    • 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
    • N70 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services - - - General, International, or Comparative

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