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Civil Wars and International Trade

  • Philippe Martin
  • Thierry Mayer
  • Mathias Thoenig

    (Centre Universitaire d'Informatique)

This paper analyzes empirically the relationship between civil wars and international trade. We first show that trade destruction due to civil wars is very large and persistent and increases with the severity of the conflict. We then identify two effects that trade can have on the risk of civil conflicts: it may act as a deterrent if trade gains are put at risk during civil wars but it may also act as an insurance if international trade provides a substitute to internal trade during civil wars. We find support for the presence of these two mechanisms and conclude that trade openness may deter the most severe civil wars (those that destroy the largest amount of trade) but may increase the risk of lower scale conflicts.

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Paper provided by Sciences Po in its series Sciences Po publications with number info:hdl:2441/10149.

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Date of creation: Apr 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of the European Economic Association, 2008, vol. 6, pp.541-550
Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/10149
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  1. Baier, Scott L. & Bergstrand, Jeffrey H., 2004. "Economic determinants of free trade agreements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(1), pages 29-63, October.
  2. Philippe Martin & Thierry Mayer & Mathias Thoenig, 2008. "Make Trade Not War?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 75(3), pages 865-900.
  3. John Romalis, 2005. "NAFTA's and CUSFTA's Impact on International Trade," NBER Working Papers 11059, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2004. "Trade Costs," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 593, Boston College Department of Economics.
  5. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler & Dominic Rohner, 2009. "Beyond greed and grievance: feasibility and civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(1), pages 1-27, January.
  6. S. Brock Blomberg & Gregory D. Hess, 2006. "How Much Does Violence Tax Trade?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(4), pages 599-612, November.
  7. Paul Collier & Dominic Rohner, 2008. "Democracy, Development, and Conflict," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(2-3), pages 531-540, 04-05.
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