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The Trade Disruption Hypothesis Fails for State-Sponsored Genocides and Mass Atrocities: Why It Matters

Charles Anderton () and Anderton Roxane A. ()
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Anderton Roxane A.: Instructor of Economics, Clark University, Worcester, MA, USA

Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, 2021, vol. 27, issue 2, 143-168

Abstract: Our research question is: Do state-sponsored genocides and mass atrocities disrupt trade? In the “conflict disrupts trade” literature there is substantial research on how interstate and intrastate conflict and terrorism affect trade, but very little research on the possible trade disruption effects of genocides and mass atrocities. Our work helps fill this research gap. We bring a suite of estimation methodologies and robustness checks to the question for a pooled sample of 175 countries for the time period 1970–2017. We also test for trade disruption individually for 26 countries that experienced genocide or mass atrocity. Unlike much of the “conflict disrupts trade” literature, we find little empirical support that genocide disrupts trade and at best weak evidence that mass atrocity disrupts trade. Our results have important implications for atrocity prevention policy; when potential atrocity architects evaluate the expected benefits and costs of carrying out atrocity, it seems that, in most cases, they need not worry about trade disruption costs. Our results also matter for empirical research on risk factors for genocides and mass atrocities, particularly for studies that hypothesize risk reduction properties associated with trade.

Keywords: genocide; mass atrocity; civil war; conflict; trade disruption; gravity model (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1515/peps-2020-0060

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