Year of Publication

2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Clayton L. Thyne

Abstract

My dissertation focuses on the impact of oil trade ties and network on political instability: democratization, civil war onset, and coups. Oil is an important resource to most states, while a few states, especially autocratic states, can produce and export it. This implies that the break of oil trade ties may strategically or economically damage oil-importing states more than oil-exporting states. In the three essays of my dissertation, I argue that oil trade ties allow oil-exporting states to resist to external pressures and encourage oil-importing states to support important oil exporters in order to avoid losing access to a much-needed commodity. In order to measure the effect of oil trade ties on three political instability problems, I employ centrality indices in weighted networks of network analysis. Based on the centrality indices, I measure the effect of oil-importing states on oil-exporters’ abilities to resist international pressures and to obtain external support, and examine how an oil-exporting state’s oil trade ties affect its three political instability phenomena: democratization, civil war onset, and coup risk. Empirical results reveal three ways in which an oil-exporting state’s oil trade ties might affect its political instability; an autocratic oil-exporting state’s oil trade ties reduce external democratizing pressures and hinder democratization; an oil-exporting state’s oil trade ties attract external prewar support for its government, and reduce the likelihood of civil war onset when the exporter experiences external prewar support for its government; an oil-exporting state’s oil trade ties reduce the likelihood of coup.

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