To Conquer or Compel: War, Peace, and Economic Development

Institute for Empirical Research in Economics University of Zurich Working Paper No. 511

44 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2010

See all articles by Erik Gartzke

Erik Gartzke

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

Dominic Rohner

University of Zurich

Date Written: September 24, 2010

Abstract

Theories of economic development suggest variously that national income increases or decreases the propensity for states to fight, while systematic evidence of the impact of development on warfare is ambiguous or non-existent. The lack of empirical support for nominally opposing claims can be reconciled if elements of both perspectives are partially correct. We use a formal model to construct an explanation linking economic development with interstate conflict that resolves contradictory theories and a relative paucity of evidence. Development increases the ability of states to project power while decreasing the willingness of states to engage in conflict over certain issues. High income states fight less often to conquer tangible assets or territory, but fight more often to compel adherence to preferred policies and to police the global commons.

Suggested Citation

Gartzke, Erik and Rohner, Dominic, To Conquer or Compel: War, Peace, and Economic Development (September 24, 2010). Institute for Empirical Research in Economics University of Zurich Working Paper No. 511, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1684000 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1684000

Erik Gartzke (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0502
San Diego, CA
United States

Dominic Rohner

University of Zurich ( email )

Muehlebachstrasse 86
Zurich, 8008
Switzerland

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