30 Aug 2021
What Does the Literature Tell Us on The Relationship between Economic Interdependence and Conflict Management? An Overview with A Focus on the MENA Region
The present paper provides the conceptual framework for the analysis of relationship between economic interdependence and conflict prevention, management, and solving. It starts by providing an overview of arguments of two main schools of thought that have been in debate over relationship between the two variables: the liberals, arguing for the pacifying effects of economic interdependence, and the realists, according to whom as interdependence between countries increases, so does the threat to their autonomy and national security, and thus likelihood of a conflict. It subsequently explores research focused on the question of conditionality of the relationship between the economic interdependence (usually operationalized in terms of trade exchange) and conflict: the impact of the type of political regime, (a)symmetry of relationship between economic partners, multilateralism, and trade agreements on the strength (and indeed outcome) on the interdependence-peace nexus. Further, analytical papers focused specifically on the countries in the Middle East and North Africa are reviewed. Finally, the paper examines specific aspects of the MENA region, focusing on factors flagged in the literature investigated as having a potential impact on the strength (or otherwise) of the pacifying effect of the economic interdependence. It concludes with summary of the findings from the literature review conducted, highlighting new variables such as potential trade wars or the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, that might have to be taken into consideration in future research.
The paper was published in the Economic Research Forum's Working Paper series.