Monday, November 17, 2014

Prospect Theory and China’s Crisis Behaviour under Hu Jintao

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No. 284 dated 18 November 2014
Prospect Theory and China’s Crisis Behaviour under Hu Jintao

By Kai He

Borrowing insights from prospect theory, this paper introduces a “political survival-prospect” model to explain the dynamics of China’s foreign policy behaviour during crises. I argue that when Chinese leaders are framed in a domain of losses with respect to political survival, a risk-acceptant behaviour, e.g. coercive diplomacy, is more likely to be adopted. When Chinese leaders are framed in a domain of gains, a risk-averse behaviour, e.g. an accommodative policy, is more likely to be chosen. Two crises, the 2009 Impeccable incident between China and the United States and the 2010 boat collision crisis between China and Japan, are studied to test Chinese President Hu Jintao’s decision-making during crises.

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Dr Kai He
is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Copenhagen. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Princeton–Harvard China and the World Program. His publications have appeared in the European Journal of International Relations, European Political Science Review, Security Studies, Review of International Studies, Cooperation and Conflict, The Pacific Review, Journal of Contemporary China, The Chinese Journal of International Politics, International Politics, Asian Survey, Asian Security, Asian Perspective, and International Relations of the Asia Pacific. He is the author of Institutional Balancing in the Asia Pacific: Economic Interdependence and China’s Rise (Routledge, 2009) and the co-author of Prospect Theory and Foreign Policy Analysis in the Asia Pacific: Rational Leaders and Risky Behavior (Routledge, 2013).

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