Although commonly assumed to secure trade, the influence of both naval power and merchant fleets on combatants’ ability to secure trade has been rarely explored. Using the gravity model on a dataset spanning 1980–2011, this study shows that the damage conflict inflicts on states’ third-party trade declines as both their naval power and commercial fleet size increase. Beyond validating core assumptions of modern maritime strategy, our results make a valuable contribution to the extensive literature on trade and conflict. The notion that trade integration fosters peace rests on the assumption that conflict depresses third-party trade, thereby reducing trade-integrated states’ propensity to initiate conflict. As this study shows, however, naval power and merchant fleets mitigate these trade-related costs of conflict. Thus, the ability of trade to deter conflict declines when states possess substantial maritime capabilities.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2022 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations