Growth, Import Dependence and War
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.
Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20326
Published: Roberto Bonfatti & Kevin Hjortshøj O'Rourke, 2018. "Growth, Import Dependence, and War," The Economic Journal, vol 128(614), pages 2222-2257. citation courtesy of
Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these: