Convergence and Divergence Amongst China’s Foreign Policy Think Tanks
American Political Science Association Annual Conference (San Francisco, USA), August 31-September 3, 2017
23 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2018 Last revised: 18 Jul 2019
Date Written: 2017
Due to the opaque nature of China’s think tanks, understanding their behaviour can often be a tea-reading exercise. Through a novel application of natural language processing methods, particularly structural topic models, this article analyzes foreign policy topics, position variance, and changes over time amongst China’s think tanks. Think tanks in our sample represent different geographical locations, and are further refined by organizational types such as government, government-operated, and university-affiliated think tanks. We find evidence for convergence in the topics covered by China’s think tanks, however, this varies over time and by organizational type. Further, policy issues are especially responsive to topics of sovereignty and domestic governance, while space exists for divergence on less-critical topics.
Keywords: China, foreign policy, think tanks, text analysis, government-operated think tanks (GOTT), university-affiliated think tanks (UATT)
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