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International Armament Collaboration (IAC)

We made an interactive HTML viewer to display most frequent terms appeared in 15 forms of IAC extracted using relational topic model.

Applied Data Science with Python

Finally got this 5-course specialization done and certified.

Reassessing Taiwan’s Defense Industrial Policy: Learning from Norway and Singapore

In this issue of Global Taiwan Brief, I compare and discuss different strategies for increasing domestic participation in multinational armament R&D and acquisition process, using examples from agile small states – Norway and Singapore – to make policy recommendation for promoting Taiwan’s indigenous defense industries and export potential.
The full report is available here.

Partner-switching and Strategy-updating: A coevolving network model of free trade negotiation

This study develops a generalized coevolving network model to explain the evolution of multilateral free trade negotiation and the conditions under which a global FTA is most likely to emerge. Our formal and simulation analyses suggest that without having to forgo existing multilateral framework, countries, particularly leading countries, can maximize cooperation in the network toward the achievement of a global FTA through two different mechanisms. First, states can adopt the strategies of their partners that accrue greater accumulated payoffs from the interaction with immediate neighbors. On the other hand, cooperative countries can bypass defecting type partners and switch to more profitable partners to negotiate FTA. Over time, the payoffs accumulated through this partner-switching strategy can induce defecting-type partners to cooperate. Thus, a global FTA can be achieved when smaller, more exclusive free trade pacts are allowed to flourish. The application of approximate master equations (AMEs) introduced in this paper also provides more accurate estimation of the time evolution of network. Our more brief discussion of recent FTA cases that owe their origins to small cohesive networks lends additional empirical support to the model.
In future analysis, we plan to include statistical analysis of WTO’s PTA/RTA data with predictive analytics for newly launched FTA talks to further validate our theoretical claim.

Optimal Vehicle Combination for Mechanized Infantry Platoon

In this study (written on behalf of Taiwan Army Infantry Training and Doctrine Command), I discuss the evolving threat environment for contemporary wheeled armored vehicles and its implications for the Army’s latest CM33 8X8 armored vehicles. This study is complemented with Monte Carlo simulation evaluating the optimal allocation of CM33 variants for platoon-level unit (all turret, all RWS, turret-RWS mix) in terms of fire power and reloading time. Policy recommendations are offered at the end of this study.

No Strings Attached: Chinese Foreign Aid and Regime Stability in Resource-Rich Recipient Countries

The political conditionality of Western aid is often said to have a positive effect in enhanc- ing recipient countries’ governance and civil liberties in the post-Cold War era. Recently, however, developing countries are experiencing a surge in foreign aid by the Chinese gov- ernment as this rising economic giant seeks to secure a stable energy supply to fuel its domestic growth machine. Yet, unlike Western aid, China’s aid often comes with little, it any, political preconditions. Thus, by reducing recipients’ reliance on Western aid, China’s aid may plausibly undermine the alleged democracy-promotion effect of Western aid. Contrary to widely received claim that China is using its aid to bolster authoritarian- ism in developing countries, we argue in this study that China’s aid allocation is primarily motivated by its growing energy need and it tends to allocate aid to recipients with signif- icant energy resource sector. Building on this claim, we further contend that China’s aid tends to enhance the authoritarian tendency of recipients whose economies rely heavily on energy resource export. We test the empirical implications of these hypotheses with recently available China’s foreign aid data. Our seemingly unrelated regression (SUR) analysis distinguishes the energy development-dominated China’s aid flow pattern from democracy promotion-oriented Western aid. We then probe more substantively the po- litical effect of China’s aid on recipients’ democracy-conditional on the size of recipients’ energy resource sectors-using treatment effects model, the results supports our hypothesis that China’s aid tends to attenuate the positive democracy promotion effect of Western aid, particularly in recipient countries with significant resource sector.

Immigrants at the Polls: comparing electoral participation in countries of origin and of residence

The political participation of immigrants has received increased scholarly attention over recent decades. However, comparisons between the electoral behavior of immigrants in their countries of origin and of residence are still limited. This paper addresses this gap in the literature and seeks to identify the determinants of Romanian immigrants’ electoral participation in the local elections of four West European countries (Germany, France, Italy, and Spain) as compared to their turnout in their home country’s legislative elections. Looking through the lenses of exposure theory, we hypothesize that contact with institutions, people, and values from the countries of residence are likely to have different effects in the two types of elections. We test the explanatory power of four main variables – time spent in the host country, social networks, degree of involvement in the local community, and the type of relationship with citizens of their host countries – to which we add a series of individual-level controls such as age, education, gender, and media exposure. To assess our claim, we employ binary logistic regression to analyze original web survey data collected in the summer of 2013. The result supports the empirical implications of exposure theory.

Financial support from the EUROLAB project at the GESIS is gratefully acknowledged by the authors.

Democratization and Central Bank Independence: A Comparative Study of Mexico and Taiwan

Does democratization promote central bank independence (CBI)? At first glance, the causal connection between an anticipated transition of political power through democratization and the incidence of institutional reform in the economic domain pertaining to a country’s highest monetary authority may look elusive. I argue in this dissertation that there exist two competing mechanisms that explain the incidence (and the absence) of CBI reforms in the transition from authoritarian rule. First, the emerging democratic threat from the newly empowered majority citizens can motivate political survival-maximizing incumbent authoritarian rulers to manipulate fiscal policy to court public support, which increases their desire to encroach on CBI in order to accommodate their now increased fiscal financing needs, a negative effect I termed “monetary financing effect.” On the contrary, as the balance of political power gradually shifts toward the citizens, incumbent authoritarian rulers may have the incentive to install an independent central bank to insulate their economic interests from the volatility of anticipated future democratic rule, which I call “institutional insulation effect.” I further argue that while the intertemporal change in the balance of political power between the authoritarian elites and the citizens is the main causal variable driving the mechanisms that generate these effects, the level of economic inequality plays a pivotal role in distinguishing the conditions under which the incidence of CBI reform is most likely to be observed. Higher levels of economic inequality not only raise the salience of redistributive politics following the onset of democratization, but they also signal that future democratic governments would tend to pursue more expansionary fiscal and monetary policy that would harm the economic interests of the would-be out-of-power authoritarian elites and their business allies. Thus, other things equal, an increase in the level of democracy is more likely to promote the incidence of CBI reform in countries with higher levels of economic inequality.
To clarify the microfoundation underlying these two competing effects, I join recent competitive authoritarianism literature by anchoring my analysis on a formal theoretical model that elucidates the strategies of a political survival-maximizing incumbent authoritarian ruler, under the uncertainty of competitive election, faced with the choices of manipulating monetary policy to persist their authoritarian rule or to implement CBI reform to insulate monetary decisions from their democratic successors once the loss of political power has become imminent. Hypotheses derived from the comparative static analysis of the formal model corresponding to the two main effects and their empirical implications are then tested on a dataset consisting of 57 countries between 1972 and 2010 with a variety of statistical models. The results of time-series cross-sectional models identify the signs of the hypothesized effects as well as the direction (longitudinal versus cross-sectional) in which they influenced the observed CBI outcomes. The companion survival analysis also finds that CBI reforms tend to occur in more unequal transitional countries. I further pursue the causal paths suggested by the theoretical model with causal mediation analysis and structural estimation, sequentially. The causal mediation evidences suggest that the positive institutional insulation effect produced by the over-time increase in the level of democracy is indeed mediated by economic inequality, while the intertemporal effect of democracy itself is largely negative. Finally, the structural estimation lends support to the functional form specification of the formal theoretical model, reinforcing the validity of the theoretical claims advanced in this study.
These formal and quantitative evidences are complemented with in-depth comparative case study of two modal competitive authoritarian regimes, Mexico under PRI (1929-2000) and Taiwan under KMT (1949-2000). My analysis shows that the worsening economic inequality as a result of the celebrated yet unbalanced Stabilizing Development (1958-1970) in Mexico in comparison to the relative economic equality and the displacement of economic redistribution by national identity as a salient dimension of electoral politics (that can be at least partially attributed to the KMT’s emigre status) helps to account for the incidence of CBI reform in Mexico and its absence in Taiwan as the electoral competitiveness of both the PRI and the KMT have waned. My briefer analyses of other historical and contemporary transitional country cases–Chile, South Africa, and Thailand–provide additional support for my theoretical claims.

Questionnaire Design for Social

Questionnaire Design for Social

EITM 2014 at Duke University

EITM 2014 at Duke. Here is the list of participants.