Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science

First Advisor

Eugene R. Wittkopf


This dissertation brings a disaggregated structural approach to bear on two dependent variables--trade protectionism and interstate war. In trade, I utilize cross-sectional data on tariffs and non-tariff barriers to test the theory that states are positional actors who use protectionist measures in an attempt to acquire or defend comparative advantage in industrial sectors. States and two-digit SITC industrial sectors are positioned in the international division of labor. A model is developed that predicts how states should distribute their protection across sectors if protection is a function of state positionality, as opposed to state institutions or other non-structural variables. Although the findings reveal evidence of state positionality, they suggest that positional protection is less pervasive than institutional and other forms of protectionism. In addition the results call into question the structural assumption that most of the protection practiced by developing states is infant industry protection deriving from state positionality. Rather, institutions appear to provide a better explanation of developing country protection. With respect to war, the theory that states are positional along the territorial dimension of power is tested. That is, it is hypothesized that increases in territorial power are of relatively greater benefit to territorially small states, and that these states are therefore more likely to initiate wars. Military power, being instrumental to winning a war, is hypothesized to be positively related to war initiation. The industrialization of military power in the twentieth-century is hypothesized to have reduced war initiation by reducing the strategic advantages of territory and increasing the military costs of territorial warfare. A test of the model found no relationship between the territorial size of states and their propensity to initiate war. Relative military power had a positive effect on war initiation, as predicted. There is some evidence that advances in the destructiveness and range of military weapons have reduced war initiation in the twentieth-century.