Erin Baggott - 2016
Erin Baggott Carter (赵雅芬) is an Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California School of International Relations, where she is also the Co-PI at the Lab on Non-Democratic Politics. She received a Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University in 2016.
Erin’s research focuses on Chinese foreign policy. She draws upon field research in China, American foreign policy documents accessed through Freedom of Information Act requests, and datasets of Chinese propaganda constructed with methods from computational social science. Her book manuscript finds that the United States and China employ diplomacy to build trust and cooperation, but that the domestic politics of each country can fundamentally destabilize this process.
Her research has been supported by the Stanford Center for International Security and Cooperation, the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, the Institute for Quantitative Social Science, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and the Tobin Project.
She regularly tweets about Chinese foreign policy at @baggottcarter. She can be reached via email at email@example.com.
The Domestic Sources of US-China Relations
My book manuscript argues that the United States and China employ diplomacy to secure international cooperation, but that their domestic politics render it more elusive.
International relations theory regards talk as cheap. It argues that states cannot employ verbal communication to overcome structural conditions that ostensibly favor conflict. Can a security-seeking state use diplomacy to affect another’s assessment of shared interests and elicit substantive cooperation? To answer this question, Part I of the book analyzes original datasets of US-China diplomatic exchanges and American assessments of shared interests with China. As diplomats have long observed, diplomacy is a forum for states to exchange concessions that render both sides better off. Chinese diplomacy improves American assessments of shared interests and increases the probability of bilateral cooperation.
Part II explores how China's domestic politics destabilize the bilateral relationship. Using novel data on elite financial transfers, it shows that the prospect of elite leadership challenges caused by economic hardship may be responsible for as much as 40% of China's conflict initiation toward the United States, as the leader takes steps to inoculate himself against elite challenges with popular nationalism. It then explores how China and Taiwan influence American foreign policy by lobbying members of Congress, the White House, and the press.
Part III documents how American domestic politics destabilize the bilateral relationship. Using an original dataset of congressional hostility toward China, it shows that China penalizes the president for congressional hostility by reducing its willingness to cooperate by a factor of four. The majority of congressional hostility toward China can be traced to economic conditions in members' home districts and to members' electoral incentives, rather than genuine foreign policy concerns. Finally, it probes how American radio propaganda and human rights pressure affect Chinese foreign policy and political behavior in China.