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Cooperation and Conflict in Chinese-U.S. Economic Relations

English title Cooperation and Conflict in Chinese-U.S. Economic Relations
Applicant Sattler Thomas
Number 182371
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Département de science politique SES Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Political science
Start/End 01.02.2019 - 31.01.2023
Approved amount 494'579.00
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Keywords (7)

Strategic interaction ; Public opinion; International political economy; Reciprocity ; USA; China; International relations

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Das Verhältnis zwischen China und den USA ist für die Zukunft des Welthandels und des internationalen Wirtschaftssystems von entscheidender Bedeutung. Allerdings stehen die Beziehungen dieser beiden Grossmächte derzeit an einem Scheidepunkt. Der wachsende wirtschaftspolitische Nationalismus in beiden Ländern führt zu steigenden politischen Spannungen und gefährdet die Stabilität des gegenwärtigen Weltwirtschaftssystems.
Lay summary

Dieses Forschungsprojekt untersucht die tieferliegenden Gründe für diese Spannungen und deren Auswirkungen auf die langfristigen Wirtschaftsbeziehungen zwischen den USA und China. In Zentrum der Untersuchung steht die Frage, inwiefern die Aussenwirtschaftspolitik der beiden Länder zunehmend von machtpolitischen anstatt von rein wirtschaftlichen Überlegungen bestimmt wird. Im Falle von wirtschaftlichen Überlegungen wären die Spannungen v.a. das Ergebnis der innerstaatlichen, sozialen Umwälzungen, welche sich durch den Handel zwischen beiden Ländern ergeben. Im Falle von machtpolitischen Überlegungen wären die Spannungen hauptsächlich das Ergebnis internationaler, politischer Veränderungen in Folge des wirtschaftlichen Aufstiegs Chinas. Letzteres würde bedeuten, dass die Handelspolitik der beiden Länder immer mehr dem Ziel untergeordnet wird, das Machtgleichgewicht zwischen China und den USA zu verändern.

Das Projekt verbindet verschiedene sozialwissenschaftliche Forschungsmethoden, um die aufgeworfenen Fragen zu beantworten. Die Untersuchungen greifen sowohl auf Methoden der experimentellen Umfrageforschung als auch der computergestützten Auswertung von Textdaten zurück. Die Ergebnisse des Projekts werden Aufschluss darüber geben, ob sich die Spannungen zwischen den USA und China in Zukunft eher abschwächen oder verstärken werden.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 09.11.2018

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Abstract

While the relationship between the U.S. and China is the world’s most critical, the future of this ‘great power dyad’ is highly unclear. Nationalism, which now appears to be on the rise in both the U.S. and China, puts central cooperative principles in U.S.-Chinese economic relations at serious risk. Domestically, identity politics, emphasis on international political competition, and vilification of foreign trade partners are trademarks of nationalist policies that become increasingly popular. This makes it much harder to maintain public support for open economy politics, particularly in the U.S. The reason is that domestic effects of economic openness become less relevant when advocated and perceived threats are defined in identity and political rather than in distributional economic terms. Internationally, political nationalism places much less emphasis on reciprocity in economic terms and thus risks undermining rules-based international governance systems. This manifests itself in the growing economic tensions between the U.S. and China during the past years. This project examines how much state leaders and the mass public in the United States and China value reciprocity as a key cooperative principle in their bilateral economic relations. To answer this question, we rely on different perspectives in ‘International Political Economy’ (IPE) that yield diverging implications about the future of U.S.-Chinese economic relations. In one view, deviations from cooperative behaviour occur only if bilateral trade generates negative domestic economic repercussions. In the other, many citizens and state leaders support non-cooperative economic behaviour because the other country is seen as an international political competitor and political adversary. An analysis of these two perspectives will help us to better understand whether current nationalist grandstanding by some populist leaders is primarily a transient phenomenon or reflects a more deep-rooted public sentiment posing a more fundamental threat to the rules-based system. The proposed research examines the determinants of cooperative and non-cooperative behaviour in Chinese-U.S. economic relations on the macro and the micro level. The first part uses micro-level survey experiments to assess and explain the attitudes of American and Chinese citizens regarding their preferred foreign economic policy strategy towards the other country. The second part uses automated events data analysis to provide a historical macro-analysis of Chinese-U.S. economic interactions during the past decades. On both levels, the analysis will examine to what extent domestic economic repercussions of international economic exchange or ideological concerns about international political competition explain cooperative and non-cooperative behaviour. In summary, the main goals of the project encompass: •providing a systematic analysis of strategic economic policy interactions between China and the U.S.;•identifying the varying cooperative and non-cooperative phases in Chinese-U.S. economic relations;•gauging the influence of domestic economic and international political motives in these interactions;•assessing the societal foundations of cooperative and non-cooperative policies in both countries.
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