Trade Interdependence and the Use of Force: Do Issues Matter?

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Authors Sam R. Bell, Andrew Gaylord Long
Paper Category
Paper Abstract In this project, we investigate the relationship between the use of military force and trade interdependence, suggesting that the influence of trade on militarized conflict varies based on the issue under dispute. For some issues, trade is likely to attenuate the chances that states escalate a dispute to the use of military force, while for others trade can intensify disputes so that military conflict is more likely. Specifically, we hypothesize that greater trade interdependence decreases the probability of military conflict over realpolitik issues like territory. On the other hand, greater trade interdependence increases the probability that states use military force when the issue under dispute concerns the regime, policies, and conditions in the target. To test our hypotheses, we employ new data on dyadic uses of force from the International Military Intervention data set that records the initiator’s reason(s) for using force against the target. The statistical tests support our hypotheses; trade decreases the use of force against a target for territorial and military/diplomatic reasons, which is consistent with arguments from the liberal paradigm. However, trade interdependence increases the use of force for humanitarian and economic reasons as well as to affect the regime or policy of the target. Thus, our study improves upon current research about the relationship between economic interdependence and foreign policy by specifying a conditional relationship based on the issues under contention.
Date of publication 2016
Code Programming Language R

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