Book Review – Economic Interdependence and War

The relationship between economic interdependence and war is one of the titles that IR scholars have long been interested. What Copeland in this book does is not just a review of this vast literature and theories, but also add a significant contribution into the existing literature both on theoretical and empirical fronts. Theoretically Copeland brings a theory of trade expectation to overcome the problems with liberal and realist views on the dynamic between economic interdependence and war.1 In the literature, liberals tend to argue that economic interdependence eases the likelihood of war by increasing gains from trade. That is, the more trade interdependence, the less likelihood of war and conflicts. When it comes to realists, this dynamics works with the reversed order. In realist logic, states are more interested in continuation of access to materials and goods when they engage in trade with others. Therefore, in a realist world, higher interdependence increases the likelihood of war, rather than lowering it since interdependence generally means vulnerability and vulnerability in an anarchic international system facilitates as an incentive to initiate war. One of the achievements of Copeland’s work is not just to show this contradictory and unsatisfactory nature of realist and liberalist view on the economic interdependence and war, but also he offers a new theory to resolve these problems: namely, theory of trade expectations. Theory of trade expectations is an amalgam of liberal (commercial ties give actors large incentive to avoid war) and realist (the risks of being cut-off anytime push state making war to secure vital goods) insights and based on a wide empirical data.


How to Cite:

Mehmetcik, H. (2016) review of Economic Interdependence and War, Dale C. Copeland,  Journal of Global Analysis, 6, no. 2: 219-220.


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