When It Is Not “Business as Usual”: Petro-states and International Conflict

Abstract: While there is increasing recognition that petrostates are more militaristic than their counterparts, it remains unclear why economic dependence on oil revenue leads to such belligerence. In this paper, I argue that one important cause of petrostate aggression can be explained in a two-level theoretical framework of the commercial peace, which asserts that the extent to which economic interdependence reduces militarized conflict depends on the degree of business influence on foreign policymaking. My research reveals that petrostates have significantly smaller private sectors than other states. Therefore, these countries are not constrained by the effect of economic interdependence in contrast to their non-petrostate counterparts. Quantitative analyses show that the pacific effects of economic interdependence are nullified for dyads containing at least one petrostate. This paper also provides a process tracing study of Colombia-Venezuela relations illustrating the link between oil dependence and business influence on dispute resolution.

The Enduring Quest for Kantian Peace: Assessing Simultaneous Equation Models on the Relationship of Economic Interdependence and Interstate Conflict

Abstract: This paper weighs in on the enduring empirical debate between liberals, who argue that trade acts as a suppressor of militarized disputes, and those whose results fail to find any substantive relationship between these two variables. Recently researchers have turned to simultaneous equation models to deal with the endogeneity of trade and conflict. Relying on the latest insights from identification theory for two stage least square models, this paper contends that the two most recent models Keshk, Pollins, and Rueveny (2004) and Hegre, Oneal and Russet (2010) are both misspecified, leading to biased results. I then use their data to create a better specified model affirming that an increase in total trade between a dyad will reduce the probability that the dyad will engage in a conflict with fatalities.