Erin Baggott - 2023
Erin Baggott Carter (赵雅芬) is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Southern California and a Hoover Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. She is also a Faculty Affiliate at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford and a Nonresident Scholar at the 21st Century China Center at UC San Diego. She has previously held fellowships at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law and the Center for International Security and Cooperation, both at Stanford. She received a Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard University, a M.Sc. in Modern Chinese Studies from the University of Oxford, and an A.B. from Harvard College.
Dr. Carter's research focuses on Chinese politics, propaganda, and US-China relations. Her first book, Propaganda in Autocracies (Cambridge University Press) explores how political institutions determine propaganda strategies with an original dataset of eight million articles in six languages drawn from state-run newspapers in nearly 70 countries. She is currently working on a book project on how the United States and China seek to influence each other to improve their national security environment. Her other work has appeared or is forthcoming in the British Journal of Political Science, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Security Studies, International Interactions, and China Quarterly. Her work has been featured by a number of media platforms, including the New York Times and the Little Red Podcast.
Her research has been supported by the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, Smith Richardson Foundation, Center for International Studies at USC, and Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, and Institute for Quantitative Social Science, all at Harvard.
Dr. Carter's Google Scholar profile is here. She can be reached via email at baggott [at] usc.edu.
"Informing (and misinforming) citizens to make them believe in the unassailability of autocratic rule is one of the fundamental chores of any tyrant. Employing an astonishing wealth of data and ingenious methods, Propaganda in Autocracies reveals when, how and with what consequences autocracies do that. This is an amazing book soon to be seen as a classic in the literature on authoritarianism." — Carles Boix, Robert Garrett Professor of Politics and Public Affairs, Princeton University
"In this work of audacious scope, brilliant methodology, and profound insight, Erin Baggott Carter and Brett L. Carter restore the struggle to shape citizens’ beliefs to a central place in the comparative politics of authoritarian-ism. With mountains of compelling logic and evidence, they show how autocrats who face electoral constraints must—at some risk—use propaganda more credibly to persuade rather than dominate. Propaganda in Autocracies is a work of prodigious research and lucid theorizing that is indispensable to understanding the contemporary dynamics of authoritarian rule." — Larry Diamond, Mosbacher Senior Fellow in Global Democracy, Stanford University
[Cambridge University Press]
Changing Each Other: US-China Relations in the Shadow of Domestic Politics [PDF]
China and the United States are not inevitably destined for conflict, but their domestic politics make it more likely, and so both governments seek security by changing the other from within. This book manuscript explains how.
In Part 1, I document how the United States and China use diplomacy to avoid the "Thucydides trap" that, according to some, structurally imperils US-China relations. I analyze original, day-level datasets of US-China interactions and US assessments of China drawn from 100,000 pages of Freedom of Information Act requests. Chinese diplomacy, I find, improves American perceptions of China and increases bilateral cooperation. This suggests that Sino-American conflict is not inevitable, even during moments of mutual suspicion.
In Part 2, I show how domestic politics in China and the US have consistently destabilized the bilateral relationship and made each side less secure. In China, the paramount leader must satisfy elite demands for patronage. When economic downturns threaten his ability to do so, he routinely initiates diversionary conflict with the United States to generate a "rally around the flag" "effect. Some 40% of Chinese-initiated conflict with the United States, I show, is diversionary. In the US, legislators have electoral incentives to support anti-China legislation, which elicits hostility while generally failing to secure meaningful change in Chinese trade policies, military behavior, and domestic repression.
Both governments understand that the other's domestic politics threatens their security, and so, in Part 3, I show how they change the other from within. Using data from the Foreign Agents Registration Act, I show that Chinese lobbying compels lawmakers to support pro-China legislation and makes American media less likely to cast China as an adversary. Using data on broadcast areas for the Voice of America and writings from former Chinese Fulbright scholars, I show that America's cultural outreach efforts have fostered protests and built constituencies for democratic change.
A PDF version of the book precis appears above.