Borrowing insights from prospect theory, this paper introduces a “political survival-prospect” model to explain the dynamics of China’s foreign policy behavior during crises. I argue that when Chinese leaders are framed in a domain of losses with respect to political survival, a risk-acceptant behavior, e.g. coercive diplomacy, is more likely to be adopted. When Chinese leaders are framed in a domain of gains, a risk-averse behavior, e.g., an accommodative policy, is more likely to be chosen. Two crises, the 2009 Impeccable incident between China and the United States and the 2010 boat collision crisis between China and Japan, are studied to explain Chinese President Hu Jintao’s decision making during crises.
About the Speaker:
Kai He is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Utah State University (USU). He was a recipient of the 2009-2010 Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program Postdoctoral Fellowship. He is the author of Institutional Balancing in the Asia Pacific: Economic Interdependence and China’s Rise (Routledge, 2009) and the co-author of Prospect Theory and Foreign Policy Analysis in the Asia Pacific: Rational Leaders and Risky Behavior (co-authored, Routledge, 2013). He has published articles in European Journal of International Relations, Review of International Studies, Security Studies, International Politics, Cooperation and Conflict, Journal of Contemporary China, The Pacific Review, Asian Security, Asian Perspective, International Relations of the Asia Pacific, and The Chinese Journal of International Politics. Healso received an East Asia Institute Fellowship (2011-2012) from the East Asia Institute (Seoul)and an Asia Studies Fellowship (2012) from the East-West Center in Washington D.C.
Organised by China Programme, Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies and RSIS Events Unit.