Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-m9kch Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-05-17T17:56:25.026Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Alliances and the High Politics of International Trade*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 June 2015


What is the role of trade policy in military alliances? We analyze and test a game-theoretic model of economic and security cooperation in which allies hold different interests across the security and commercial aspects of the relationship. In equilibrium, allies with little market power who are valuable politically to larger states engage in sociallysuboptimal protectionism, as their allies’ threats of retaliation are incredible. Stable cooperation emerges in the form of unretaliated protection rather than mutually low trade barriers. We test the model’s implications against a dyadic data set of antidumping petitions from 1980 to 2013 and find that larger allies are more likely to tolerate protectionism by smaller allies by denying domestic petitions to retaliate against dumping measures by the latter.

Original Articles
© The European Political Science Association 2015 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



Scott Wolford, Associate Professor, Department of Government, University of Texas at Austin 158 W 21st St, Austin, TX 78712 ( Moonhawk Kim, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, UCB 333, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309-0333 ( The authors thank Scott Adler, Aysegul Aydin, Andy Baker, Terry Chapman, Mike Findley, Doug Gibler, Amy Liu, Toby Rider, Emily Ritter, Anand Sokhey, and, especially, Eric Reinhardt, for helpful comments and suggestions, as well as the editors and anonymous reviewers at PSRM.


Allee, Todd. 2005. ‘The Political and Economic Value of GATT/WTO Dispute Initiation’. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association. September 1--September 4, 2005. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
Bagwell, Kyle, and Staiger, Robert. 2002. The Economics of the World Trading System. Cambridge: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
Bennett, D. Scott. 1997. ‘Testing Alternative Models of Alliance Duration, 1816–1984’. American Journal of Political Science 41(3):846879.Google Scholar
Bown, Chad P. 2014. ‘Global Antidumping Database’. The World Bank. Available at, accessed 11 June 2014.Google Scholar
Fordham, Benjamin O. 2010. ‘Trade and Asymmetric Alliances’. Journal of Peace Research 47(6):685696.Google Scholar
Gartzke, Erik. 2007. ‘The Capitalist Peace’. American Journal of Political Science 51(1):166191.Google Scholar
Gibler, Douglas M. 2009. International Military Alliances, 1648–2008. Washington, DC: CQ Press.Google Scholar
Goldstein, Judith. 1986. ‘The Political Economy of Trade: Institutions of Protection’. American Political Science Review 80(1):161184.Google Scholar
Goldstein, Judith, Rivers, Doug, and Tomz, Michael. 2007. ‘Institutions in International Relations: Understanding the Effects of GATT and the WTO on World Trade’. International Organization 61(1):3767.Google Scholar
Gowa, Joanne, and Mansfield, Edward D.. 1993. ‘Power Politics and International Trade’. American Political Science Review 87(2):408420.Google Scholar
Gowa, Joanne, and Mansfield, Edward D.. 2004. ‘Alliances, Imperfect Markets, and Major-Power Trade’. International Organization 58(4):775805.Google Scholar
Hansen, Wendy L., and Park, Kee Ok. 1995. ‘Nation-State and Pluralistic Decision Making in Trade Policy: The Case of the International Trade Administration’. International Studies Quarterly 39(2):181211.Google Scholar
Hansen, Wendy L., and Prusa, Thomas J.. 1997. ‘The Economics and Politics of Trade Policy: An Empirical Analysis of ITC Decision Making’. Review of International Economics 5(2):230245.Google Scholar
Hoekman, Bernard M., and Kostecki, Michel M.. 2009. The Political Economy of the World Trading System: The WTO and Beyond, 3rd ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Kasara, Kimuli. 2007. ‘Tax Me If You Can: Ethnic Geography, Democracy, and the Taxation of Agriculture in Africa’. American Political Science Review 101(1):159172.Google Scholar
Keshk, Omar M.G., Pollins, Brian M., and Reuveny, Rafael. 2004. ‘Trade Still Follows the Flag: The Primacy of Politics in a Simultaneous Model of Interdependence and Armed Conflict’. Journal of Politics 66(4):11551179.Google Scholar
Leeds, Brett Ashley, Ritter, Jeffrey M., Mitchell, Sara McLaughlin, and Long, Andrew G.. 2002. ‘Alliance Treaty Obligations and Provisions, 1815–1944’. International Interactions 28(3):237260.Google Scholar
Long, Andrew G, and Leeds, Brett Ashley. 2006. ‘Trading for Security: Military Alliances and Economic Agreements’. Journal of Peace Research 43(4):433451.Google Scholar
Mansfield, Edward D., and Bronson, Rachel. 1997. ‘Alliances, Preferential Trading Agreements, and International Trade’. American Political Science Review 91(1):94107.Google Scholar
Marshall, Monty G., and Jaggers, Keith. 2009. ‘Polity IV Project: Dataset Users Manual’. Center for Systemic Peace, University of Maryland, Vienna, VA.Google Scholar
Miranda, Jorege, Torres, Raul A., and Ruiz, Mario. 1998. ‘The International Use of Antidumping, 1987–1997’. Journal of World Trade 32(5):571.Google Scholar
Morrow, James D. 1991. ‘Alliances and Asymmetry: An Alternative to the Capability Aggregation Model of Alliances’. American Journal of Political Science 35(4):904933.Google Scholar
Morrow, James D. 2003. ‘When Do Relative Gains Impede Trade?’ In Gerald Schneider, Katherine Barbieri and Nils Petter Gleditsch (eds), Globalization and Armed Conflict, chapter 3, 4976. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield.Google Scholar
Mousseau, Michael. 2010. ‘Coming to Terms With the Capitalist Peace’. International Interactions 36(2):185213.Google Scholar
Olson, Mancur, and Zeckhauser, Richard. 1966. ‘An Economic Theory of Alliances’. Review of Economics and Statistics 48(3):266279.Google Scholar
Reinhardt, Eric. 2000. ‘Aggressive Multilateralism: The Determinants of GATT/WTO Dispute Initiation, 1948–1998’, Emory University, Atlanta, GA.Google Scholar
Russett, Bruce, and Oneal, John. 2001. Triangulating Peace: Democracy, Interdependence, and International Organizations. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
Sandler, Todd. 1992. Collective Action: Theory and Applications. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
Sandler, Todd, and Hartley, Keith. 2001. ‘Economics of Alliances: The Lessons for Collective Action’. Journal of Economic Literature 39(3):869896.Google Scholar
Snyder, Glenn H. 1997. Alliance Politics. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
United Nations Statistical Division. 2015. ‘UN Commodity Trade Statistics Database (UN Comtrade)’. United Nations. Available at, accessed 18 February 2015.Google Scholar
Vermulst, Edwin. 2005. ‘The 10 Major Problems with the Anti-Dumping Instrument in the European Community’. Journal of World Trade 39(1):105113.Google Scholar
World Bank. 2015. World Development Indicators. World Bank, Washington, DC. Available at, accessed 25 February 2015.Google Scholar
Supplementary material: Link

Wolford Dataset