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China's Strategic Multilateralism: Investing in Global Governance

Kastner, Scott L. (University of Maryland, College Park)
Pearson, Margaret M. (University of Maryland, College Park)
Rector, Chad (Marymount University, Virginia)

978 1 108 42950 4
List price(s):
105.00 USD
75.00 GBP
87.53 EUR

Publication date:
31 October 2018

Short description: 

Applying insights from cutting-edge theories of international cooperation, this study brings new understanding to China's approach to contemporary global challenges.

Full description: 

China sometimes plays a leadership role in addressing global challenges, but at other times it free rides or even spoils efforts at cooperation. When will rising powers like China help to build and maintain international regimes that sustain cooperation on important issues, and when will they play less constructive roles? This study argues that the strategic setting of a particular issue area has a strong influence on whether and how a rising power will contribute to global governance. Two strategic variables are especially important: the balance of outside options the rising power and established powers face, and whether contributions by the rising power are viewed as indispensable to regime success. Case studies of China's approach to security in Central Asia, nuclear proliferation, global financial governance, and climate change illustrate the logic of the theory, which has implications for contemporary issues such as China's growing role in development finance.

Table of contents: 

1. Introduction: explaining China's international behavior; 2. Theory: when do rising powers choose to invest, hold-up, or accept existing regime arrangements?; 3. The context and content of China's rise; 4. Order in Central Asia: from accept to invest; 5. Nuclear nonproliferation: accept, but invest selectively in the North Korea issue; 6. Global financial governance: from accept to hold-up; 7. Climate change negotiations: from hold-up to invest; 8. Conclusions; References; Index.


Scott L. Kastner is Professor of Government and Politics, University of Maryland, College Park. He is the author of Political Conflict and Economic Interdependence across the Taiwan Strait and Beyond (2009), and his articles have appeared in journals such as International Security, the Journal of Conflict Resolution and International Studies Quarterly. Margaret M. Pearson is Professor of Government and Politics, University of Maryland, College Park. Her publications include the books Joint Ventures in the People's Republic of China (1991) and China's New Business Elite: The Political Consequences of Economic Reform (1997), as well as articles in World Politics, The China Journal and Public Administration Review. Chad Rector is Associate Professor of Politics at Marymount University, Virginia. He is the author of Federations: The Political Dynamics of Cooperation (2009), as well as articles in Security Studies, International Studies Quarterly, and Pacific Focus.




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