Variations in Policy Topics Amongst Foreign Policy Think Tanks in China
American Political Science Association Annual Conference (San Francisco, USA), August 31-September 3, 2017
20 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2018 Last revised: 7 Apr 2021
Date Written: 2017
Foreign affairs policymaking inputs by think tanks are one of the most difficult analytical characteristics to disaggregate and analyze. This is further compounded when examining an authoritarian regime such as China with limited publicly accessible information. Using novel text analytical techniques, this study examines (dis)similarities in foreign policy topics, and temporal shifts, amongst Chinese domestic think tanks during the early period of Xi Jinping’s administration (2013-present). Think tanks in our sample represent are refined by organizational types such as government, government-operated, and university-affiliated think tanks. In spite of operating in an increasingly centralized authoritarian institutional environment, we find variations in topics covered by think tanks over time and organizational type. These findings are notable for domestic and international actors wanting to engage with Chinese institutions who influence foreign affairs policymaking.
Keywords: China, foreign policy, think tanks, government-operated think tanks (GOTT), university-affiliated think tanks (UATT), text analysis, structural topic modelling
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