Economics and War

This week, you looked at three very different articles about how economics affects violent conflict. How would you summarize the general link between economies and armed conflict? Is there something in common to all these pieces that you think highlights “how economics affects war?” If you don’t think they summarize that way, tell me why you think the findings from thebcqse pieces should remain separate.

Economics and War


This week we are looking at a few articles that link IPE with other aspects of International Relations.


Andreas (2004) provides us with a great study about the “black market” side of conflict. For the most part, this is not something you will see in other studies of the economics of war. It is unique in the sense that Andreas considers how smuggling and criminal activity play roles in both the onset and termination of war—which damages our easily made assumptions that crime simply intensifies and prolongs conflict.


Rosendorff and Sandler 2005 is an introduction to a special journal issue (an entire edition set aside for one topic) about terrorism. As you’ll notice, there is less here about economic causes/consequences of terrorism than there is the employment of IPE theories to the study of terrorism.


Finally, Ross (2006) looks at something called the “resource curse.” This is a hypothesis that the existence and trade in valuable resources like oil or diamonds generate conflict because they are in high demand and allow armed groups to pay soldiers and supply themselves. It’s important because Ross is one of the first to lay out that different resources have different effects on conflict. For example, diamonds are high priced and may spark a war if a rebel group perceives it can take advantage of that resource to engage in a conflict. However, once the conflict is ongoing, it is the ability to smuggle goods that becomes crucial to maintaining the war effort.





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