Oct 19, 2018, 12:00 pm12:00 pm
367 Wallace Hall
Restricted to Students, Faculty, Postdocs only



Event Description

Economic statecraft -- the use of economic tools to pursue political goals -- is an important foreign policy strategy for many major powers, and has been an increasingly important tool for China. I examine the conditions for effectiveness of economic statecraft, focusing on positive inducements, which are understudied relative to sanctions. My theoretical framework shows how the effectiveness of economic statecraft is influenced by two independent variables: (a) the type of inducement strategy; and (b) the level of public accountability in the target country. I distinguish between two types of economic inducements: subversive carrots, in which the provision of economic benefits works outside of established political processes and institutions; versus stakeholder cultivation, which entails engagement with key domestic actors and interest groups within established political processes and institutions. I argue that the effectiveness of economic statecraft is conditional on the level of public accountability in the target country, defined as the presence of robust societal institutions, such as the media, civil society, and public opinion. Examining the important case of China, I show that the use of subversive carrots succeeds in low accountability countries, but backfires in targets with high public accountability, where it leads to public backlash against China. To test my theory, I draw on evidence from case comparisons of three Southeast Asian countries with varied levels of public accountability - Cambodia, the Philippines, and Myanmar. In addition, I conduct a survey experiment in the Philippines to test the individual-level mechanisms of public accountability. My findings have important theoretical and policy implications for understanding the conditions under which economic capabilities can be translated into geopolitical influence, and for understanding the role of economic instruments in national security policy.