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Buying Influence? Assessing the Political Effects of China's International Trade

Journal of Conflict Resolution

Published online on


It is widely believed that China’s growing links to the global economy are translating into increased Chinese political influence abroad. This article explores this possibility quantitatively by examining whether increased trade with China correlates with an increased willingness by countries to accommodate Chinese interests. I use newly collected data that capture cross-national variation in the willingness of individual countries to support Chinese government positions relating to Taiwan and Tibet, and China’s status as a market economy. I find that increased trade dependence on China is correlated with an increased likelihood of taking an accommodating stance on the economic issue (market economy status). But the evidence linking trade to an accommodating stance on the political issues is more ambiguous.