Trade, openness, and domestic conflict: An empirical investigation for Latin America

Prasad S. Bhattacharya, Dimitrios D. Thomakos


The article reports results of an empirical investigation into trade, openness, and domestic conflict for several Latin American countries. It addresses two main issues: (1) whether variations in trade openness affect the likelihood of the onset of domestic conflict and (2) once initiated, how variations in openness affect conflict duration. For the period 1973- 1995, and controlling for numerous sociopolitical, institutional, and economic factors, our findings suggest that (1) increased trade openness reduces the chance for domestic conflict onset as well as the intensity of domestic conflict and (2) over-reliance on agricultural exports, which can be a consequence of increased openness, is the main factor sustaining conflict. Conflict mitigation policies should keep in mind the role tradable agricultural goods play in this region of the world.

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