Money, Morals, or Might?

Explaining which Countries Welcome China’s Rise

with Scott Kastner. Under Review.



Across the globe, states vary greatly in the degree to which they are willing to support a rising China’s interests. How can we explain this variation? Recent studies look to economic dependence theories for answers, but the conclusions of these studies are mixed. We argue that states’ accommodative postures are likely to be contingent on the position of a particular country within the contemporary US-led global order.

We follow others in characterizing the contemporary order as multi-dimensional, focusing in particular on a liberal political development dimension, a liberal economic dimension, and a US-led security hierarchy as being central features of the current global order. We hypothesize that countries more marginalized from different dimensions of the current order will be more likely to welcome the rise of a new power (like China) that might challenge established norms, and we further predict that a country marginalized from a particular dimension of order will be especially likely to support China in cases where Chinese behavior directly challenges the norms associated with that dimension of order.

Employing novel measures of different dimensions of contemporary order, we test this expectation on a data set of countries’ willingness to support China’s 2005 Anti-Secession Law, its 2008 crackdown in Tibet, its position on the 2016 South China Sea UN Tribunal, and its recent policies in Xinjiang. Our findings indicate that while integration into the liberal political development order strongly and consistently predicts who accommodates China, the other dimensions of order are weaker predictors of state behavior.

Tentative Results

Logistic Regression Point Estimates.

Xinjiang Repression Classification Test ROC Plot.

Evan Jones
PhD Student in Government & Politics