Economic Interdependence and War, Dale C. Copeland

Reviewed by Erik Gartzke



War is rare but important. Trade is increasingly central to international relations, growing in value, and thus it is important as well. Perhaps rising trade levels will help maintain world peace? In his ambitious new book, Economic Interdependence and War, Dale R. Copeland sets out to resolve an enduring debate between those who see commerce as inflammatory, or at least not particularly helpful, and the now-dominant view that trade is pacifying. The core of this effort is acknowledged to be theoretical; Copeland correctly notes that the chief flaw (among many) in the expanding research on this subject is the lack of sufficient deductive grounding. Ideas for and against commercial peace are plausible but probably incorrect.

How do we account for consistent but surprisingly weak evidence of a liberal commercial peace? Copeland identifies the critical “switch” determining pacific and incendiary effects of trade as expectations: what nations believe will be the case in the future. If sovereigns think that trade will be increasingly important, they cooperate. If they perceive that trade is in decline, they tend to follow other motives for conflict to political violence, even war.

There is much to admire about this exhaustively researched volume. Copeland is a rarity among contemporary international relations scholars. He is thor

To continue reading, see options above.

More by This Author

The Invisible Hand of Peace: Capitalism, the War Machine, and International Relations Theory, Patrick J. McDonald Reviewed by Erik Gartzke

The Democratic Peace and Territorial Conflict in the Twentieth Century, Paul K. Huth and Todd L. Allee Reviewed by Erik Gartzke

When the Stakes Are High: Deterrence and Conflict among Major Powers, Vesna Danilovic Reviewed by Erik Gartzke

Nations at War: A Scientific Study of International Conflict, Daniel S. Geller and J. David Singer Reviewed by Erik Gartzke

About PSQ's Editor


Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.


A Purple Agenda For The Next Four Years
June 20, 2024
7:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m. ET


Editor’s spotlight

Virtual Issue

Introduction: Black Power and the Civil Rights Agendas of Charles V. Hamilton
Marylena Mantas and Robert Y. Shapiro


Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

China in a World of Great Power Competition   CHINA IN A WORLD OF GREAT POWER COMPETITION

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS