How the Power of Business Affects the Commercial Peace: Commercial Interests, Economic Interdependence, and Militarized Conflict

 

For decades, international relations scholars have engaged in a vigorous debate over whether there is substantive evidence showing that economic interdependence decreases the likelihood of interstate conflict. A consensus has grown in favor of the commercial peace thesis due to positive results found across various operationalizations of economic ties, including bilateral trade, FDI and monetary integration, as well as monadic, dyadic, and network model designs. Yet, skeptics are correct to point to the lack of development of a testable causal mechanism that explains how and under what circumstances economic integration reduces militarize disputes.

My dissertation, How the Power of Business Affects the Commercial Peace: Commercial Interests, Economic Interdependence, and Militarized Conflict, addresses this problem with the development of a two-level theoretical framework incorporating interest group politics at the domestic level within the interstate bargaining process. I assert the degree of business influence on foreign policy mediates the effectiveness of economic interdependence to reduce conflict. I test this theory through a mixed method approach — (1) quantitatively examining the interaction of private sector size and bilateral trade on the likelihood of violent militarized disputes, and (2) two qualitative case studies tracing the process by which business exerts influence on security policymaking for the rival dyads of Colombia-Venezuela and China-Japan. The results demonstrate why understanding the role of business elites in foreign policy enables a more specific and conditional theory asserting which international relationships are most likely to pacifically benefit from increased economic ties.

For an overview of this project, I have included a link to the Chapter One: Introduction.

 

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