Cui Bono? Business Elites and Interstate Conflict

48 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2020

See all articles by Tore Wig

Tore Wig

University of Oslo

Sirianne Dahlum

University of Oslo - Department of Political Science

Carl Henrik Knutsen

University of Oslo - Department of Political Science

Magnus Bergli Rasmussen

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: August 24, 2020

Abstract

We address how regime supporters affect war-making by re-opening a classic debate on business elites and their influence on states' conflict behavior. Imperialist theories contend that business elites encourage executives to undertake military expeditions to "open up" foreign markets, while "capitalist peace" arguments emphasize that business elites have economic incentives to work for peace. We synthesize these arguments and propose that countries become more belligerent, in general, when business elites enter regime support coalitions, but not towards other business-supported regimes. We use recently compiled data on social groups in regime support coalitions, covering 200 polities across 1789-2018, to test implications of our argument. We find that business-supported regimes are more likely to initiate armed conflict, but not against other countries with business-elite supported regimes. We also find support for additional implications, for instance pertaining to how the belligerence of business-supported regimes depends on existing trade relationships.

Suggested Citation

Wig, Tore and Dahlum, Sirianne and Knutsen, Carl Henrik and Bergli Rasmussen, Magnus, Cui Bono? Business Elites and Interstate Conflict (August 24, 2020). V-Dem Working Paper 2020:105, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3679945 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3679945

Tore Wig (Contact Author)

University of Oslo ( email )

PO Box 6706 St Olavs plass
Oslo, N-0317
Norway

Sirianne Dahlum

University of Oslo - Department of Political Science

Moltke Moesvei 31
Olso, 0851
Norway

Carl Henrik Knutsen

University of Oslo - Department of Political Science ( email )

Moltke Moesvei 31
Olso, 0851
Norway

Magnus Bergli Rasmussen

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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