The role of energy interdependence in shaping world politics
Gökçe, Osman Zeki (2018) The role of energy interdependence in shaping world politics. [Thesis]
Energy resources, unlike most other traded commodities, are essential for all economic and military activity. Given states’ increasing needs to energy as a strategic commodity, understanding how energy interdependence affects international politics continues to remain relevant. While scholars have extensively debated the link between international politics and trade, systematic analyses gauging how energy interdependence shapes interstate relations are scant. To facilitate systematic research, this thesis introduces the Global Energy Interdependence Dataset. The dataset, presented in monadic and dyadic formats, covers the globe for the years between 1978–2014. Incorporating Militarized Interstate Disputes (MID) dataset and United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voting data, I probe whether energy interdependence between states affects their foreign policy decisions or actions, and if so, in which directions—toward peace or conflict. Empirical results indicate that higher levels of energy interdependence, overall, promotes a cordial relationship within a dyad—reduces the likelihood of the onset and escalation. More importantly, higher levels of energy dependence curb importers’ incentives to initiate MIDs against their suppliers. Higher levels of energy interdependence also increase foreign policy affinity within a dyad. Moreover, increasing energy dependence on the supplier causes foreign policy split-ups, or divergence, in a dependent state’s relations with others in favor of the supplier. After disaggregating energy dependence based on four types of primary energy resources—coal, oil, natural gas, and electricity—only the natural gas appears as an effective commodity in mitigating conflictual relationship and promoting affinity where alternative ways of obtaining it (e.g. spot-market options) have been quite limited.
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