Trading on Preconceptions: Why World War I Was Not a Failure of Economic Interdependence

International Security, 2012

40 Pages Posted: 11 Nov 2010 Last revised: 5 Mar 2012

See all articles by Erik Gartzke

Erik Gartzke

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

Yonatan Lupu

George Washington University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: March 3, 2012

Abstract

The First World War is generally viewed by both advocates and critics of commercial liberal theory as the quintessential example of a failure of economic integration to maintain peace. Yet this consensus relies both on methodologically flawed inference and an incomplete accounting of the antecedents to the war. Crucially, the war began in a weakly integrated portion of Europe with which highly integrated powers were entangled through the alliance system. Crises among the highly interdependent European powers in the decades leading up to World War I were generally resolved without bloodshed. Among the less interdependent powers in Eastern Europe, however, crises regularly escalated to militarized violence. Moreover, the crises leading to the war created increased incentives for the integrated powers to strengthen commitments to their less-interdependent partners. In attempting to make these alliances more credible, western powers shifted foreign policy discretion to the very states that lacked strong economic disincentives to fight. Had globalization pervaded Eastern Europe, or the rest of Europe been less locked into events in the East, Europe might have avoided a “Great War.”

Keywords: Interdependence, World War I, Case Study

Suggested Citation

Gartzke, Erik and Lupu, Yonatan, Trading on Preconceptions: Why World War I Was Not a Failure of Economic Interdependence (March 3, 2012). International Security, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1706942 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1706942

Erik Gartzke

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

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

Yonatan Lupu (Contact Author)

George Washington University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Washington, DC 20052
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
453
Abstract Views
1,453
rank
63,179
PlumX Metrics