"Can Trade Prevent Conflict with China? Trade Interdependence and Chinese Foreign Policy"
Presenter: Jiakun Jack Zhang, Ph.D Candidate, Department of Political Science, UC San Diego Abstract: Contrary to the conventional wisdom that commerce brings peace, China appears to engage in more militarized disputes with its neighbors and trade partners despite deepening economic integration. My research suggests this is because increased trade raises the cost of war but also incentivizes risky military behavior short of the threshold of war. Thus, economically interdependent states do not simply substitute nonviolent economic contests for militarized disputes to signal resolve as previously believed but engage in brinksmanship. I conduct statistical analyses and qualitative case studies using a new dataset on Chinese Foreign Relations (1949-2016) to test this mechanism. Economic interdependence creates stability at high levels of conflict but perversely degrades stability at lower levels of violence. This insight has important implications for East Asian security: economic interdependence can increase the appeal of low-intensity military force because aggressors expect adversaries to refrain from escalating the conflict to war.
CRW provides a forum for the presentation of original research by China scholars from around the country in social science and humanities, sponsored by the 21st Century China Center at the UC San Diego School of Global Policy & Strategy. To view archive and upcoming workshops list, visit: http://china.ucsd.edu/events/workshops.html