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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 C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5218.

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Date of creation: Sep 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5218
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  1. 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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  4. Izquierdo, Alejandro & Morisset, Jacques & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 2003. "Information Diffusion in International Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 3872, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  6. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2000. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 485, Boston College Department of Economics.
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  8. Alesina, Alberto & Spolaore, Enrico, 2005. "War, peace, and the size of countries," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(7), pages 1333-1354, July.
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  14. 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.
  15. repec:rus:hseeco:123708 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 593, Boston College Department of Economics.
  17. Ai, Chunrong & Norton, Edward C., 2003. "Interaction terms in logit and probit models," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 123-129, July.
  18. Spolaore, Enrico & Alesina, Alberto, 2006. "Conflict, Defense Spending, and the Number of Nations," Scholarly Articles 4553016, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  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. 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, March.
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