Dissertation Project

The Logic of Strategic Interaction behind Arms Transfers

Abstract Why do states decide to purchase certain types of weapons systems over others? In this project, I propose a new categorization of conventional arms systems based on their capacity and purpose. My theory hypothesizes that a state’s internal political stability determines the type of weapons states choose to import or produce domestically. Certain types of arms are more suited for domestic conflict and thus are less coveted by unstable states in fear of losing control over the military. As a result, a state’s weapons arsenal reveals military capacity and can be interpreted as a signal of state resolve in international conflict. This paper provides a new mechanism to predict the outcome of international militarized conflict. If a state’s military arsenal is built for civil conflict, then it must compromise some of its external strike or defense capabilities. Therefore, states that face both domestic political instability and external rivalry have to grapple to strike a balance between the two when arming their military. Moreover, this theory addresses why procurement of certain arms is more likely to trigger arms races than others as certain arms are more suited for expansionist means.

Working Papers

Tools Outside of Diplomacy: Introducing a Dataset of Foreign Lobbying (Under Review)

Abstract Why do foreign entities lobby in the U.S.? Understanding lobbying behaviors of foreign actors and their impact on domestic and international politics is crucial towards addressing theoretical and empirical gaps across several social science disciplines. However, the study of foreign lobbying has been constrained by data limitations that impeded the scope and breadth of research opportunities for scholars. This paper introduces a foreign lobbying panel dataset based on multiple data sources from the Foreign Agent Registration Act of 1938 database from 2003 to 2021. The dataset provides researchers with tools to analyze foreign lobbying behavior at the lobbyist level, foreign entity level, and lobbying activity level. Leveraging various features of the dataset, I identify lobbying patterns from various types of foreign actors, examine their policy goals, and assess the impact of these lobbying efforts. This dataset contributes to resolving longstanding research debates on the extent of political influence exerted by foreign actors and uncovers new research opportunities for future researchers in the field.

Measuring Military Capability: Introducing an Integrated Dimensional Clustering Approach

Abstract How should military capability be defined? Past theories on power perception and international order offer contradicting analysis, empirical validity, and generalization for the same observations. This paper provides a novel two-dimensional framework for understanding military capabilities: strength and growth. I theorize that states on similar strength levels tend to cooperate with each other, while states on similar growth levels will engage in more conflict. Furthermore, I propose a new measurement of military capability on these two dimensions using k-means clustering machine learning model and principal component analysis. Lastly, I employ logit regression to demonstrate that states in the same growth cluster are more likely to engage in conflict while states in the same strength cluster experience the opposite.

Network Analysis of Balancing by Middle Powers (with Arthur Stein)

Abstract This paper suggests a comprehensive network model, using the ICEWS event dataset, to analyze the triadic balancing behaviors of Middle Power states in response to Great Power politics. The study examines the changes in military and economic policies of these states and identifies patterns of state balancing. The findings indicate that state relations should be looked at beyond a dyadic perspective and that Middle Power states are highly responsive to the changing balancing behaviors of Great Powers. The paper also provides a detailed analysis of how Asian countries respond to China's rise in various policy areas.