Economic Interdependence

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Economic Interdependence and War: A Theory of Trade Expectations Author(s): Dale C. Copeland
Source: International Security, Vol. 20, No. 4 (Spring, 1996), pp. 5-41 Published by: The MIT Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2539041
Accessed: 12/10/2010 13:07
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Economic

DaleC. Copeland

Interdependence
and
War
A Theory of Trade Expectations

Does

economic inter-

dependence increase or decrease the probability of war among states? With the Cold War over, this question is taking on importance as trade levels between established powers such as the United States and Russia and emerging powers such as Japan, China, and Western Europe grow to new heights. In this article, I provide a new dynamic theory to help overcome some of the theoretical and empirical problems with current liberal and realist views on the question. The prolonged debate between realists and liberals on the causes of war has been largely a debate about the relative salience of different causal variables. Realists stress such factors as relative power, while liberals focus on the absence or presence of collective security regimes and the pervasiveness of democratic communities.' Economic interdependence is the only factor that plays an important causal role in the thinking of both camps, and their perspectives are diametrically opposed.

Liberals argue that economic interdependence lowers the likelihood of war by increasing the value of trading over the alternative of aggression: interdependent states would rather trade than invade. As long as high levels of Dale C. Copelands AssistantProfessorn the Department f Governmentnd ForeignAffairsat the i

i
o
a
University f Virginia.
o
For their helpful comments on previous drafts of this article, I would like to thank Robert Art, V. Natasha Copeland, Michael Desch, Angela Doll, John Duffield, Matthew Evangelista, Richard Falkenrath, James Fearon, Joseph Grieco, Atsushi Ishida, Irving Lachow, Alastair lain Johnston, Andrew Kydd, Jack Levy, Lisa Martin, Michael Mastanduno, John Mearsheimer, Andrew Moravcsik, John Owen, Paul Papayoanou, Stephen Rhoads, Gideon Rose, Richard Rosecrance, Len Schoppa, Herman Schwartz, Randall Schweller, Jitsuo Tsuchiyama, David Waldner, and Stephen Walt. This article also benefited from presentations at the Program on International Politics, Economics, and Security at the University of Chicago; the University of Virginia Department of Government's faculty workshop; the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Chicago, September 1995; the Olin security workshop at the Center for International Affairs, Harvard University; and the Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University (under whose...
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