Productive Pacifists: The Rise of Production-Oriented States and Decline of Territorial Conquest
50 Pages Posted: 29 May 2019
Date Written: March 1, 2019
Scholarship suggests the profits from conquest have decreased over time. Given this, why were some states faster to abandon profit-motivated conquest, and why are some still seeking wealth from territorial control? We argue that regime type and land-rent dependence influence a regime’s preference for territory. The more autocratic the regime and the more it depends on rents extracted from land (i.e. the more land-oriented the economy), the greater its willingness to invest in territorial conquest. We develop a novel measure of land-orientation, with 200 years of data, to evaluate the linkages between land-orientation, regime type, and conquest. We find robust evidence that regime type and land-orientation are linked to territorial competition across a variety of model specifications. The global reduction in land-oriented states offers a plausible explanation for the decline in the number of large-scale territorial conquests. Our findings also explain why some states retain strong economic motivations for conquest.
Keywords: territorial conflict, resource dependence, regime type
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