Table of Contents

The Handbook on the Political Economy of War

The Handbook on the Political Economy of War

Elgar original reference

Edited by Christopher J. Coyne and Rachel L. Mathers

By defining political economy and war in the broadest sense, this unique Handbook brings together a wide range of interdisciplinary scholars from economics, political science, sociology, and policy studies to address a multitude of important topics. These include an analysis of why wars begin, how wars are waged, what happens after war has ceased, and the various alternatives to war. Other sections explore civil war and revolution, the arms trade, economic and political systems, and post-conflict reconstruction and nation building. Policymakers as well as academics and students of political science, economics, public policy and sociology will find this volume to be an engaging and enlightening read.

Chapter 25: Disaggregated Trade Flows and International Conflict

Han Dorussen and Hugh Ward

Subjects: economics and finance, political economy, politics and public policy, international politics, international relations, political economy, terrorism and security


Han Dorussen and Hugh Ward 25.1 INTRODUCTION The proposition that trade promotes peace is one of the cornerstones of liberal thought. Commerce makes stable interstate relations more valuable, because producers derive benefits from exports and consumers from imports. It is also a source of revenue and possibly even more important political support for governments (Schumpeter 1951; Polachek 1980, 2002; Russett and Oneal 2001). Classical Liberals, like Codben and Mill, further emphasized that trade necessitates transnational communication. Traders can become valuable mediators with a clear interest in avoiding any escalation of conflict that may threaten their livelihood (Dorussen and Ward 2010). Proponents of the so-called Capitalist Peace argue that trade – among other valuable interstate connections such as investments – allows states to avoid conflict because it reduces the uncertainty in interstate relations and hence makes it more likely that states are able to resolve their conflict without having to resort to the use of force (Gartzke 2007).1 The significance of trade is challenged regularly on both theoretical and empirical grounds. A pertinent question is whether the effect of trade on conflict is uniform across commodities or heterogeneous; in other words, does it matter what goods are being traded? The liberal view is that trade always reduces the likelihood of conflict, even though trade in some goods may be particularly pacifying (Dorussen 2006). In contrast, critics emphasize that the security implications of trade in, for example, strategic or high-tech goods, are bound to shape trade policies, and that such trade is associated...

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