Borders, Conflict, and Trade

Posted: 12 May 2015

See all articles by Kenneth A. Schultz

Kenneth A. Schultz

Stanford University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: May 2015


Research on the relationship between territorial disputes, militarized conflict, and economic integration occurs at the intersection of two large research programs in international relations: one linking territorial disputes to violence, and another exploring the effects of conflict on trade and vice versa. Although we know that territorial disputes fuel conflict and that conflict dampens trade, we know less about whether the prospects of economic gains contribute to the settlement of disputes and subsequent compliance with those settlements. I argue that research in this area could profitably adopt an emerging view of borders as institutions that not only distribute territory but also allow cooperation and the production of joint gains. This review identifies gaps in the existing literature on the resolution of territorial disputes and helps to reframe a persistent methodological challenge in this area: missing and noisy data on trade flows.

Suggested Citation

Schultz, Kenneth A., Borders, Conflict, and Trade (May 2015). Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 18, pp. 125-145, 2015, Available at SSRN: or

Kenneth A. Schultz (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States
650-736-1998 (Phone)

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