Trade Decreases Conflict More in Multi-Actor Systems: A Comment on Dorussen

Journal article

Hegre, Håvard (2002) Trade Decreases Conflict More in Multi-Actor Systems: A Comment on Dorussen, Journal of Peace Research 39 (1): 109–114.


Dorussen (1999) concludes that trade between states reduces the incentives for conflict, but that the effect of trade diminishes with a larger number of countries. I demonstrate that the indicator Dorussen uses to gauge the impact of trade is dependent on the size of the system itself, and therefore may be an inappropriate means by which to evaluate the relationship between the impact of trade and system size. Two alternative indicators to analyze the impact of trade on conflict in Dorussen's model are suggested: the ratio of the minimum winning probabilities required for war to pay with trade and without, and the threshold for war costs under which war will pay for one of the states. Using the alternative indicators, I corroborate his conclusion that trade does reduce the incentives for conflict in this model. The alternative indicators, however, indicate that trade reduces an actor's incentives for conflict more the more states there are in the system. Download abstract (pdf)

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