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October 21, 2022

The Domestic Political Consequences of Global Economic Expansion in Rising Powers

Evidence from Survey Experiments in China

Event Series: Chinese Politics and Economy Research Seminar Series

China Great Hall of People

Rising powers typically seek to play a larger role in international economic affairs. In a recent study, David A. Steinberg and his collaborators examined the domestic political consequences of rising states’ efforts to increase their foreign economic influence. They surmised that successful global economic expansion increases (or failed expansion decreases) public support for incumbent governments. To test this argument, they fielded three original survey experiments in China, each focusing on a different component of China’s foreign economic strategy. In this talk, Steinberg will explain how in all three experiments, they found that informing individuals that China has failed to increase its role in the global economy reduced average levels of government satisfaction. The evidence suggests that this drop in government approval is driven by a weakened sense of national pride. The study underscores the domestic political risks and rewards that rising powers like China must weigh when expanding their country’s global economic presence.

This academic seminar is jointly sponsored by the Department of Government and the Initiative for U.S.-China Dialogue on Global Issues at Georgetown University.


David A. Steinberg is an associate professor of international political economy at Johns Hopkins University. His research focuses on the politics of international money and finance. His book, Demanding Devaluation: Exchange Rate Politics in the Developing World (2015), was awarded the Peter Katzenstein Book Prize and received an Honorable Mention for the American Political Science Association’s William H. Riker Book Award. He is the author of articles in Comparative Politics, Comparative Political Studies, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Politics, and World Politics, among other outlets. His research has been supported by a Johns Hopkins Catalyst Award, as well as by fellowships from the University of Pennsylvania’s Browne Center for International Politics and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. In 2017, he was awarded the Max M. Fisher Prize for Teaching Excellence.