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Controlling Access to Territory: Economic Interdependence, Transnational Terrorism, and Visa Policies

Journal of Conflict Resolution

Published online on


Previous scholarship has largely failed to address the effect of economic interdependence on issue areas other than interstate conflict. This study seeks to redress this lacuna by focusing on states’ visa policies and examining the impact of trade and capital interdependence in the context of transnational terrorism. The article argues that economic ties affect visa policies through a reconfiguration of preferences and the opportunity costs of economic loss and by tempering the impact of terrorism. To support this claim, the study conducts statistical analysis using directed dyad data on the visa policies of 207 states and independent political units. The article shows that the impact of economic interdependence is contingent on whether states are directly targeted in attacks of terrorism or face indirect threats from global terror. The study finds that economic incentives overwhelm security concerns when threats are indirect but have relatively limited influence, given threats against a state’s own citizens or territory.