DP10073 Growth, Import Dependence and War
|Author(s):||Roberto Bonfatti, Kevin Hjortshøj O'Rourke|
|Publication Date:||July 2014|
|Keyword(s):||blockade, history, trade, war|
|JEL(s):||F51, F52, N70|
|Programme Areas:||International Trade and Regional Economics, Economic History|
|Link to this Page:||www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=10073|
Existing theories of pre-emptive war typically predict that the leading country may choose to launch a war on a follower who is catching up, since the follower cannot credibly commit to not use their increased power in the future. But it was Japan who launched a war against the West in 1941, not the West that pre-emptively attacked Japan. Similarly, many have argued that trade makes war less likely, yet World War I erupted at a time of unprecedented globalization. This paper develops a theoretical model of the relationship between trade and war which can help to explain both these observations. Dependence on strategic imports can lead follower nations to launch pre-emptive wars when they are potentially subject to blockade.