Griffith Asia Institute Research Seminar/Book Launch: China's Crisis Behavior: Political Survival and Foreign Policy after the Cold War

Griffith Asia Institute Research Seminar/Book Launch: China's Crisis Behavior: Political Survival and Foreign Policy after the Cold War
Griffith Asia Institute Research Seminar/Book Launch: China's Crisis Behavior: Political Survival and Foreign Policy after the Cold War

Principal speaker

Associate Professor Kai He

Presented by: Kai He, Associate Professor, Griffith Asia Institute and Centre for Governance and Public Policy

The major purpose of the project is to explore patterns of China's foreign policy crisis behavior after the Cold War, i.e., when and under what conditions will Chinese leaders take risks to escalate a foreign policy crisis and when will Chinese leaders avoid risks and de-escalate a crisis? Inspired by both neoclassical realism and prospect theory—a Nobel-Prize-winning behavioral psychology theory, I introduce a "political survival-prospect" model to explain the variations of China's crisis behavior. I argue that China's crisis behavior is a function of Chinese top leaders' calculations or prospects of their "political survival" status, which is shaped by three factors: the severity of the crisis, leaders' domestic authority, and international pressure. When Chinese leaders enjoy the prospect of a surplus of political survival during a foreign policy crisis, they are more likely to de-escalate the crisis, i.e., to choose a risk-averse decision to avoid more troubles. If they face the prospect of a deficit of political survival, they are more likely to escalate the crisis, i.e., to take a risk-acceptant policy to reverse the disadvantageous situation.       

Kai He is an Associate Professor of International Relations in Griffith Asia Institute and Centre for Governance and Public Policy at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia. He is the author of Institutional Balancing in the Asia Pacific: Economic Interdependence and China's Rise (Routledge, 2009), Prospect Theory and Foreign Policy Analysis in the Asia Pacific: Rational Leaders and Risky Behavior (co-authored with Huiyun Feng, Routledge, 2013), and China's Crisis Behavior: Political Survival and Foreign Policy (Cambridge, 2016). He is an associate editor of the Chinese Journal of International Politics (CJIP), published by the Oxford University Press and an editorial board member of the Foreign Policy Analysis, an official journal of the International Studies Association.

To RSVP, please contact Christine Kowalski on (07) 3735 4705 or events-gai@griffith.edu.au by 11.00am Monday 2 May 2016.


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RSVP on or before Monday 2 May 2016 , by email events-gai@griffith.edu.au, or by phone x54705

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