Explaining Foreign Interest in China's Global Leadership
64 Pages Posted: 14 Mar 2018 Last revised: 4 Dec 2018
Date Written: November 28, 2018
Global leadership requires followers. We analyze the factors that increase the likelihood that foreign leaders will demonstrate interest in China’s global economic leadership. We develop a new behavioral measure of foreign interest in China’s global economic leadership and use it to test the argument that foreign interest stems, in part, from dissatisfaction with the international status quo. While we find evidence that foreign leaders are pulled toward China by the benefits of closer economic relations, we also find that grievances with the current U.S.-led order have also helped push foreign leaders closer to China. Grievances about global financial instability are particularly important push factors. Specifically, we find that countries that have experienced more financial crises, more volatile portfolio capital inflows, and more variable capital account policies are more likely to demonstrate interest in China’s global leadership than leaders of nations that have been less exposed to these problems. We also find that grievances about discriminatory U.S. trade policy are related to foreign interest in China’s global leadership, but that grievances about global governance are not.
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