While the relationship in between trade and also war is ambiguous, part argue that decreased trade deserve to pose a hazard to an international peace by lowering both the opportunity costs of war and also the price of increasing an army. This pillar examines the relationship in between Atlantic trade and also war in Europe between 1640 and 1896, a duration in i beg your pardon intra-European conflict decreased dramatically. The finds that the growth in Atlantic trade lowered the probability the intra-European dispute by 15 portion points.

You are watching: How did the war impact trade with europe?

We reap at this hour an uninterrupted peace, while every the remainder of Europe is one of two people actually engaged in war, or is on the really brinks that it. Our trade is at a greater height 보다 ever, when other nations have scarce any, thro’ their very own incapacity, or the nature of your government.”

Daily Courant, 13 June 1734

In recent years, a climb in protectionist measures as result of trade battles has added to a slowdown in global trade growth. The trade interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are most likely to exacerbate this downward trend (Baldwin and Freeman 2020). We know that such decreased trade has actually adverse impacts on consumer (Amiti et al. 2019, Fajgelbaum et al. 2020), but what is often overlooked is the threat that decreased trade poses to global peace.

The fact that trade deserve to deter dispute is a common view in the literature but is additionally a controversial one (Barbieri 2002). Accessible empirical proof is mixed and also theoretical studies suggest to an ambiguous relationship in between trade and war (Morelli and Sonno 2017).

We study the relationship in between trade and also war indigenous a historic perspective. In our examine (Ahsan et al. 2019), we usage over 250 years of data (1640–1896) and also study a period in i m sorry intra-European dispute decreased dramatically.

While roughly one in 5 Europeans died due to problem in the 15th century, around one in 100 did so in the 19th century (Figure 1).

Figure 1 number of European conflicts per year, 1640-1896


Explanations for this transition towards peace have actually highlighted the long lasting political settlement brought around by the congress of Vienna (Schroeder 1986); the diversion of conflict away native Europe because of the West’s comparative advantage in the usage of violence after ~ the industrial revolution (Findlay and O’Rourke 2009); and the positive impact of the enlightenment via the spread out of values of yongin (Pinker 2011).

We propose an alternative explanation: access to Atlantic trade. Indeed, throughout the duration we study, trade-flows between Europe and the brand-new World increase (Acemoglu et al. 2005). Walk this profession play a role in lowering dispute in Europe?

Trade and also conflict: an ambiguous relationship

In theory, the affect of Atlantic profession on intra-European problem is ambiguous. Top top the one hand, European countries that connect in Atlantic trade will have more to shed (in terms of forgone trade) if problem raises their overall trade costs. Further, by increasing real incomes (and for this reason a worker’s exterior option), Atlantic trade have the right to increase the expense of raising an army (Dal Bo and Dal Bo 2011). Both the these channels will lower intra-European conflict.

On the various other hand, once traded goods are substitutes, higher trade through the new World will minimize bilateral trade between European countries. This reduction in bilateral dependence will rise the likelihood of dispute (Martin et al. 2008).

Furthermore, lot of our sample period overlaps with the period of mercantilism, a period in which problem was used to create commercial prominence over imperial trade courses (Findlay and O’Rourke 2009). Thus, better scope because that Atlantic profession can an outcome in an ext conflict together European countries fight to develop imperial dominance. Ultimately, how Atlantic trade impacted intra-European dispute is an empirical question.

Market integration together a proxy for historic trade

The lack of bilateral profession data between Europe and also the new World during the period 1640–1896 has actually prevented scholars from trying out the impact of Atlantic trade on intra-European conflict. We get rid of this data constraint by utilizing the level of wheat market integration in between Europe and the new World together a proxy because that trade. Our wheat price data permit us to build a country- and also year-level dashboard dataset the price pass-through in between Europe and the new World and highlight the boosted trade (Figure 2) in between the European countries in our sample (Belgium, Britain, France, the grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Habsburg Empire, the Netherlands, the footrest Empire, Poland, Portugal, Prussia, Spain, and Sweden) and the brand-new World (the Thirteen Colonies/US, Peru, and Argentina) throughout this period.

Figure 2 Intra-European Conflict and also Atlantic Trade, proxied by new World integration


Tropical cyclones and wind-based sailing time come measure profession costs

To empirically examine the trade–war relationship, us investigate whether every European country–pair’s trade with the new World affects your probability the conflict. We look at two weather-based shocks come cross-Atlantic profession costs: wind-based cruising time and tropical cyclones over the Atlantic Ocean. In a period in i m sorry ships to be dependent on wind direction, the previous was an exogenous determinant of travel time over the Atlantic s (Pascali 2017). Similarly, sailing ships during our sample duration were breakable to weather-induced shipwrecks (Trouet et al. 2016). Thus, dry cyclones additionally were exogenous shocks come Atlantic trade costs.

We discover that higher Atlantic profession did indeed have actually a pacifying result in Europe. Ours empirical estimates imply that the boost in Atlantic trade between the mid-17th century and the early 19th century lower the probability of conflict onset by almost 15% indigenous a baseline start probability the 2%.


What mechanisms can describe this result? First, greater Atlantic profession raises the opportunity cost of intra-European conflict. Second, provided that Europe was reasonably labour abundant, trade with the brand-new World would increase European wages and hence boost the expense of increasing an army. All else equal, both channels will result in Atlantic trade lowering intra-European conflict.

Consistent v both hypotheses, we uncover that countries with better Atlantic trade proficient an average boost in wages and also that higher Atlantic profession lowered a country’s army and also navy sizes. Our outcomes were not driven by other determinants that may be connected with reduced conflict, such as positive farming productivity shocks, fewer famines, higher tax revenues, alliances through intermarriage, and institutional quality.

While our results suggest that Atlantic trade played a duty in lowering intra-European conflict, quite than developing the basis for a Kantian ‘perpetual peace’ throughout the globe, we uncover that Atlantic trade had an unfavorable repercussions for societies external Europe. In fact, we uncover evidence of conflict displacement come Africa and also Asia, where European powers fought to increase their empires.

Nonetheless, this illustration of background serves as a reminder that as the civilization proceeds in a much more protectionist direction, that is not simply consumer and also producer welfare that will certainly be impacted. The additional threat that protectionism and also diminished trade might pose come peace need to not it is in overlooked.


Acemoglu, D, S Johnson and also J Robinson (2005), “The rise of Europe: Atlantic trade, institutional change, and also economic growth”, American financial Review 95(3): 546–79.

Ahsan, R, together Panza and Y tune (2019), “Atlantic trade and also the decrease of conflict in Europe”, CEPR DP14206.

Amiti, M, S J Redding and also D E Weinstein (2019), “The influence of the 2018 tariffs on prices and also welfare”, Journal of economic Perspectives 33(4): 187–210.

Baldwin, R, and also R Freeman (2020), “Supply chain contagion waves: thinking ahead on production ‘contagion and reinfection’ indigenous the COVID concussion”, gaianation.net, April 1.

Barbieri, K (2002), The free illusion: Does profession promote peace?, Ann Arbor: college of Michigan Press.

Dal Bo, E, and also P Dal Bo (2011), “Workers, warriors and also criminals: Social dispute in basic equilibrium”, Journal that the European economic Association 9(4):646–77.

Fajgelbaum, ns D, p K Goldberg, p J Kennedy and also A K Khandelwal (2020), “The go back to protectionism”, The Quarterly newspaper of Economics 135(1): 1–55.

Findlay, R, and also K H O’Rourke (2009), Power and plenty: Trade, war, and the civilization economy in the second millennium, Princeton: Princeton college Press.

Martin, P, T Mayer and M Thoenig (2008), “Make trade not war?”, The testimonial of financial Studies 75(3): 865–900.

Morelli, M, and also T Sonno (2017), “On financial interdependence and also war”, Journal of financial Literature 55(3): 1084–97.

Pascali, l (2017), “The wind that change: naval technology, trade, and also economic development”, American economic Review 107(9): 2821–54.

Pinker, S (2011), The better angels of our nature: The decline of violence in history and that causes, London: Penguin.

Schroeder, ns W (1986), “The 19th-century international system: changes in the structure”, World Politics 39(1): 1–26.

See more: What Do You Call A Dog Mom, What Do You Call Yourself To Your Pets

Trouet, V, G Harley and M Dominguez-Delmas (2016), “Shipwreck rates reveal Caribbean tropic cyclone solution to previous radiative forcing”, PNAS 113(12): 3169–74.