Economic Geography, Political Map and the Effectiveness of the Power originated from Asymmetric Economic Interdependence: Across Taiwan-Strait Relationship as a Case


Qunbo Gao

Master Program

Graduate School of Media and Governance.


Abstract: There’s an interesting puzzle in the international relations that asymmetrical economic interdependence doesn’t bring effective power. The less dependent actor which is predominant in an interdependent dyad couldn’t transform its economic influence into political influence by using economic means, and thus fails to exert its power over the more dependent actor. Based on existing literature, the author constructs a new explanatory model by utilizing economic geography and political bloc, and argues that whether economic geography can match with the political bloc is crucial to the power from asymmetric economic interdependence. The case study of Russia taking advantage of its predominant position to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO bolsters core viewpoint presented by this article.



Economic interdependence is one of the primary characteristics of modern world. In academia, studies on economic interdependence can be divided into two major approaches. One is security-oriented approach, which focuses on the causal relationship between peace (or conflict) and economic interdependence, that is whether the economic interdependence contributes to peace or not. Scholars fared well toward this approach, as three main perspectives — positive, negative, neutral — having been shaped out.[1] The other is power-oriented approach. Most of the economic interdependent relations in the world are asymmetrical, far from symmetrical, which means that in an economic interdependent dyad one party depends more than the other. What’s more is that asymmetrical economic interdependence will bring significant consequences to international politics because the asymmetry may provide the actors sources of influence in their interactions with others.[2] In another word, the asymmetrical economic interdependence is a source of power.[3] In light of the intrinsic attributions of power, the less dependent may be able to coerce the more dependent into complying with its specific political demands through manipulating the asymmetrical relationship.[4] In the power-oriented studies, nevertheless, scholars tend to take the process of power generating from asymmetry as spontaneous, thus the in-depth research toward this approach is still in lack.

Numerous international political events have demonstrated that the power derived from asymmetrical economic interdependence is not ever effective, that is, the less dependent fails to transform its economic predominance into effective political influence to achieve its political goals from time to time. Why would this happen? Is there any factor or condition that impedes the asymmetrical power to take effect? Under what situation will the asymmetrical power come into effect and under what situation it would not? This article attempts to answer these questions with a new explanatory framework.

As a matter of fact, in academia, a satisfying explanation for the above research question is still lacking although that relevant studies from other fields, such as security-oriented approach, economic sanctions, etc., could shed some lights on it. The most essential deficiency of those existing helpful explanations lies in that none of them provides a direct and specific explanation to the failure of the power in asymmetrical economic interdependence. To fill this gap, the explanatory model which this article attempting to provide will penetrate into the politics and economy of the more dependent state at domestic level, which means to adopt a perspective that underscoring the role of domestic factors, then introduce two key terms —economic geography and political bloc— as the cornerstones to construct a logical mechanism for the object of explaining the given research question.


Literature Review

As a matter of fact, in academia, a satisfying explanation for the above research question is still lacking although that relevant studies from other fields, such as security-oriented approach, economic sanctions, etc., could shed some lights on it.

1.        Exit costs

It is widely known that Keohane and Nye had distinguished two characteristics of economic interdependence — sensitivity and vulnerability — to better analyze the power in asymmetric economic interdependence. They proposed that the vulnerability is more essential and helpful than sensitivity when understanding the power generated from asymmetrical economic interdependence. The more vulnerable the state is, the more likely that the other state in an asymmetrical economic interdependent dyad would impose its political influence over the state.[5]

Mark J. C. Crescenzi advanced Keohane and Nye’s two conceptions, introduced a new term—“Exit Costs”.[6] He designed a model, in which, he assumed that states are involved in economic relationships that maximize welfare, then the costs involved in exiting these relationships are essentially what is lost in switching from this “best” option to the next best alternative. Then the opportunity costs associated with these alternatives are defined as exit cost. Scale of exit costs is measured by the intensity of economic interdependence and the ease in which the interested parties can find alternative resources for economic exchange. Two economic characteristics—asset specificity and market structure—can serve to conceptualize exit costs: immobile asset specificity makes the market structure more rigid, thereby it becomes more difficult to find fungible resources, then the exit costs increase.

Although Crescenzi’s exit costs aimed at analyzing the mechanism of military conflict between two states, this theory model shed some lights on studying effectiveness of interdependence power. Besides, served as an indicator, exit costs can assess the sensitivity and vulnerability of interdependence at the same time, this is great advancement comparing with the concepts of Keohane and Nye.[7] However, the shortcoming of Crescenzi’s theoretical approach is that it is typical nation-centralism which views domestic economy as an iron-board, thus ignoring the substantial structural influence that the diversity of domestic politics and economy could impose on interstate relations.

2.        Bargaining theory

Based on modern bargaining theory, R. Harrison Wagner contended that asymmetrical economic interdependence does not imply that one bargainer will be able to exercise political influence over another. The use of economic interdependence for political influence requires, instead, that the exchange of economic resources for political concessions make both parties to a relationship better off than they would be if they bargained over the distribution of the gains from the economic relationship alone. He pointed out, “If political concessions are expected as a result of a threat to interrupt an existing economic relationship, this must be because there is unexploited bargaining power in the existing relationship, that is, the party demanding the political concession could, if it chose, successfully demand more favorable terms in the existing relationship.” However, “Even if there is unexploited bargaining power in an existing economic relationship, there may be no way to convert it into political influence, since there may be no feasible exchange of economic benefits for political concessions that is mutually beneficial.”[8]

Wagner’s theoretical model is bargaining theory that based on rational man and the principle of market transaction, provided a useful approach to understand the relationship between political influence and asymmetrical interdependence. However, he viewed economic coercion as a mutually beneficial process, which obviously deviates from the real world. In numerous situations, economic coercion is more of a process in which intimidator intends to change the status quo and the target country endeavors to maintain the status quo. This specificity of the basic logic of the theoretical model impairs its explanatory power to a certain extent.

3. Explanation from economic sanctions theory

Besides the above theories, relevant studies of economic sanctions can provide some referable conclusions to the given research question. It is because economic sanctions are a sort of the critical measures for the power in asymmetrical interdependence to play its due role.

A.       Big Power Politics

When the less dependent attempts to employ economic leverage to gain political influence, if a third party appears, particularly when the third party is another big power, the effect of the power of asymmetrical economic interdependence would be impacted. Some scholars thought that the failure of the economic sanctions is mainly due to the support from the strong or rich allies of the targets which will greatly compensate the loss of the target.[9] Similar situation often happened in the economic sanctions cases that engendered by the cleavage of ideologies between big power and small power during Cold War. As most of the aims of the economic sanctions in those Cold War cases referred to the subversion of the political regime of the targeted country, the target usually could gain the aids from the adversary of the sender. These compensated measurements offset the impacts and impaired the expected effects of the economic sanctions to a large extent.

There are several problems if applying this explanation to the analysis of the effectiveness of the power in asymmetrical interdependence. First, this explanation is generally available to the period of Cold War when the aims of target were ideology-oriented other than specific foreign policy-oriented. Second, this explanation ignores the specific situation of the small powers, during the period of two poles, small powers were the byproducts in the games of great powers. Third and the foremost, in this explanation, the relationship between the target and the sender is not certainly economic interdependent, such as the sanctions case of U.S.-Cuba and U.S.-China, however, in the given research question, the target and sender are not only economic interdependent but also highly asymmetrical interdependent.

B.       Domestic Factors of the Senders

It has no doubt that sanctions will damage sender’s economy. But as most of the senders are great powers, loss caused by sanctions is negligible.[10] However, if the sanction loses the supports of most civilians and influential enterprises, sanctions may become fairly difficult to be sustained. If the people of target country learned those situations in sender country, resolve of resistance will be reinforced. All the above constructs a vicious circle, then, “sanction fatigue” emerges out, then being strengthened by time, the sender has to give up.[11]

When coming to being applied to analyze the given research questions, the biggest deficiency of this explanation is it argues that under asymmetrical economic interdependence economic sanctions have little or negligible impacts to the senders. However, the fact is that the sender could afford the economic losses generated by the economic sanctions because generally these losses are not large enough to ignite serious domestic responses.

C.       Regime Type of the Targets

Some scholars hold that economic sanctions are more difficult to success in authoritarian regimes.[12] Because authoritarian regimes can employ its unrestricted power to protect its elites from being impaired, transferring the losses to the domestic average. Moreover, in many situations, economic sanctions may help enforcing the control of the authoritarian regimes over its civilians.[13] In contrast, if the target is democracy, as the welfare of the citizens are seriously impaired by the economic sanctions, the target will be more prone to comply with the demands of the sender because the government of a democracy will be afraid to pay domestic political costs for the imposed economic sanctions. The deficiency of this explanation is that the dichotomy between authoritarian regime and democracy is somewhat over-simplified, thus helpless to explore the internal mechanism of economic sanctions.

In sum, the previous literature certainly provided some instructive reference for understanding the given research question, but none of them can directly explain it. In this case, my research plans to propose a new explanatory framework which takes a domestic perspective of the more dependent, emphasizing the role of domestic factors.

Understanding Economic Geography and Political Bloc

Economic Geography

Economic geography is a term borrowed from spatial economics, and is simply defined as “the location of production in space” by Paul Krugman.[14] Economic activities, such as sectoral distribution, the flows of the factors of production, etc., are not distributed evenly within a state, but with spatial distinctiveness, which means that a state will be divided into different economic sections along the geographic lines by the “intangible hands”.

There are mainly two levels to understand economic geography. First, the domestic economy level. In a state, generally, each region itself possesses distinctive and relatively stable regional production mode and sectoral structure, which, when moving up to the national level, turns out to be a fact that different economic sections have its own industrial advantages, concentration of production factors, distributional features of the sectors and so on, respectively. Beside this point, in the era of globalization, the economic geography can not only be measured by domestic economic indicators, but also embodied in foreign economic activities, which is to say that economic geographical disparities in a state could produce regional disparities on their respective external economic relations with other states.[15] For example, economic sections in a given state would differ greatly in their respective trade partners and sources of investment due to their differences on factors such as geographical location, transport cost, etc.

Why does the economic activities in a state exhibit clearly geographical disparity? Paul Krugman proposed three primary reasons in his studies. First, market-size effects. A large local market creates both “backward linkages”— sites with good access to large markets are preferred locations for the production of goods subject to economies of scale — and ‘forward linkages’—a large local market supports the local production of intermediate goods, lowering costs for downstream producers, thus enforcing the localization together. Second, thick labor markets. An industrial concentration supports a thick local labor market, especially for specialized skills, so that employees find it easier to find employers and vice versa. Third, pure external economies. A local concentration of economic activity may create more or less pure external economies via technology spillovers. For example, the flows of knowledge and information in a region with industrial concentration could create certain benefits.[16] Besides above three reasons, historical accident, such as the policy-decision of local leadership, also plays an crucial role in shaping the economic geography. Historical accident gives rise to the emergence of economic geography, enforcing and thus solidifying it to be a persistent and irreversible objective phenomenon via “Path Dependence” effect.[17]

From a perspective of international political economics, the significance of the term of economic geographic is that it is able to indicate the localism or regionalism of economic welfare, a widespread phenomenon in modern world. The term, therefore, has superior explanatory power than the other explanatory tools. First, compared to the statism of economic welfare, economic geography can crack the crust of a whole state, penetrating into its domestic economic structure, examining lots of critical domestic economic activities, such as sectoral structure, flows of trade, sector concentration, commercial investment, etc. Different regions will play distinct role in their respective economic ties with foreign actors in light of their own distinctive production modes. Therefore, when changes taken place in either domestic or international economy, the gains and loss usually differ greatly among regions: if the economic changes do harm to the entire economy of the state, the economic welfare of some regions may be damaged more, whereas other regions could hardly be impacted and certain regions may even gain substantial benefits from those changes; if the economic changes improve the entire welfare of the state, certain region may gain more than the others, whereas some region may even be damaged. All the above manifests that the statism perspective is inane to certain extent.

Second, compared to the other domestic political factors for analyzing, the merit of economic geography lies in its emphasis on the geographical attribution of the economic welfare, which is fairly different from the traditional analytical methodology with emphasis on the sociality of economic interests. Previous research often selected class, sector, industry and social agents with personified traits, as interest subjects, and simultaneously set up the gains and loss of the economic welfare of specific interest subject under specific economic policy as the logical start for analyzing and demonstrating.[18] However, due to the objective existence of economic geography, the economic welfare of various social agents, to a large extent, are defined by the scope of economic geography. Moreover, both the location selected and formation of the interests of social agents are closely correlated with the geography. Different economic sections have distinct economic interests, so their positions and preferences regarding economic policies will differ greatly as well. The degree of the disparity that the different economic geographical sections being impacted would be much severer than that of the disparity that the different social agents being impacted in a state. The diverse interests of various social agents or various endowments would be integrated or disintegrated under domestic sector division and economic geography at the regional level before being expressed at the state level.[19]

Nevertheless, some important points need to be clarified here. The analytical perspective from economic geography does not essentially contradict with the perspective from social agents. As a matter of fact, these two perspectives might be highly overlapped, if there is not  conspicuous disparity exists in economic geography. However, under the objective existence of economic activities such as sector division, the geographical concentration of economic activities fuses and then solidifies the divergent economic interests and welfare of various social agents. Thus, adopting the perspective of economic geography will be more helpful for understanding the impact of economic activities on governmental economic decision-making.

Political Bloc

Political bloc is a combined study on political geography theory and political cleavage theory. Literally, political geography is the science of studying the relationship between political behavior and geographical factors, focusing on the geographical factors in political activities and the political implication of geography.[20] And political cleavage theory studies the observable  social and ideological divergence, which get structuralized and long-lasting boundaries, among the pivotal political agents in a state. Based on the above two definitions, two elements of political bloc are worthy to be noted. First is the long-existing disparities of the political identities, political preferences and political values of different administrative regions in a state over various political issues. Second, the disparities mentioned above exist as a state of spatial distribution, exhibiting a significantly geographical feature. More specifically, the disparities of the political identities, political preferences and political values that “inspire particular kinds of political action therefore are embedded in the places or geographical contexts where people live their lives”.[21] Thus, political bloc is primarily used for discerning the spatiality and locality of political choice, and can be defined as that the political participative propensities of the people from different areas in a state diverge and then integrate into regional coalitions with distinct or sometimes even antagonistic political preferences along certain geographical borders. In contemporary world politics, this phenomenon along with its impact on state politics can be best exemplified through the case of Scotland-England in Great Britain and the English-speaking sections and the French-speaking sections in Canada. Numerous factors will contribute to the formation of political bloc, including ethnic composition, language discrepancies, geographical distances, religious beliefs, cultural differences, political identities, historical heritage, etc.. Apparently, since each country and region possesses its own distinctive historical, social and cultural heritage, the causes and processes of the formation of their political bloc differ to some extent.

Compared with surveying the specific attitudes toward certain political issues, it is more measurable to comprehend political bloc through different political parties’ vote-getting situations. Because in modern politics, people’s participation in political life is primarily embodied by the form of participating in election campaigns, whereas political party is the principal vehicle through which political actors exercise the elections. Thus, the voting and party  supporting situations of the people in different geographical sections in a state can directly reflect the distribution of political blocs to a considerable degree. The more concentrated the geographical section votes to any particular political party, the clearer the existence of a political bloc is. The political bloc not only implies the partisan support and selective exclusion of specific geographical section to a particular political party, but also indicates that this kind of  support and exclusion will persist for a relatively long historical period, exhibiting an attribution of stability. In fact, the political bloc which appears via either hidden or visible ways is not an accidental or unusual phenomenon, rather a political reality which objectively exists in most of the countries in varying degrees. For example, in the United States, since 1980s the Democrat usually gains more supports than the Republican in East and West coast; in Thailand, significant disparity have emerged up between the rural area and the urban bourgeois on the voting choices; Similarly, in Kirghizstan the southern and the northern have presented remarkable political cleavage since its independence 1990s, etc.[22]

In sum, within specific political bloc, the voting intentions of the electorate have a considerable nature of continuity, which implicates that they may vote to the same party persistently for an extended period of time, resulting in relatively steady voting outcomes in almost each constituency without abrupt change. This phenomenon is primarily due to the existence of “core voter” who exhibits a high party loyalty in political activities. These core voters will keep voting to the same political party in key election campaigns with their strong party identities. They concentrate in certain geographical scope, forming into the political bloc. As regards to the origins of their “loyalties”, generally, there have been two explanatory approaches — political party approach and voter approach. In the political party approach, the contributed factors include the candidates’ attributes, their stands on specific policy issues and the general stands of the political party.[23] In the voter approach, the contributed factors include individual habit, family background, psychological factors, etc..[24] In spite of the validity of those explanations, the core voter and the party identification are both objective phenomenon in political science that have been verified by statistic data and empirical studies.[25] Understanding the term of the core voter will be conducive to understanding the discrepancy of the stability of political supports that a geographical section gives to particular parties in political bloc.

However, the political bloc in a state is stable and enduring in a relative sense, rather than fixed. If indeed fixed, why does each political party make their best endeavor to compete in the election campaign? And why do the election outcomes exhibit a high uncertainty, or even be dramatic from time to time? This is because, in addition to a certain amount of core voters, there are still considerable amount of swing voters, or so called “neutral voters” in each geographical section. A swing voter is, opposed to the definition of core voter, a voter who is not so solidly committed to one candidate or the other.[26] The voting intention of the swing voter is uncertain during the whole process of election campaign. Unless up to the exact moment of voting, the swing voter will not make his final decision. Therefore, the major mission of the parties in the campaign is to solidify core voters and to win swing voters as many as possible. The swing voter turns out to be the primary front of the battle among the political parties, as well the gray area among the geographical borders of political blocs which playing a key role in its spatial dynamics.[27]

Economic Geography and Political Blocs under Asymmetrical Economic Interdependence

In the asymmetrical economic interdependent relations, the exerting of the asymmetrical power by the less dependent upon the more dependent generally follows this logic[28]: the economic leverages imposed by the less dependent in order to realize its power over the more dependent would negatively impact the domestic economy of the more dependent, resulting in a relative declination of its economic welfare. In another hand, from a perspective of the more dependent, based on the consideration of sustaining their own economic interests, the impacted domestic actors would seek any possible measures to impose pressure on the government, urging it to accept the political demands presented by the less dependent. Voting is the most critical channel for expressing their appeals and imposing political pressures in a democracy. With an incentive to win the election campaign and stay in power, the government of the more dependent is likely to respond the appeals from the impacted actors with satisfying the political demand of the less dependent, then the power from asymmetrical economic interdependence comes into effect.

In this logical chain, there are two key elements. First is the gains and loss of economic welfare, which is the prerequisite for triggering that logic. Under the policy of economic sanctions of the less dependent, the general economic welfare of the more dependent would indeed be impaired. But due to the existence of economic geography in the more dependent, the distribution of the gains and loss would appear to be significantly regionalized rather than even. Even if the same sectors that locate in different regions will also be impacted differently for the sake of different trade flows. Generally, the regions which share close economic ties with the less dependent will bear the severest brunt if the economic ties are cut off; and some of the regions may hardly be impacted by the economic changes imposed by the less dependent, or even may gain from it in terms of the domestic regional industrial shift and other reasons. It can be deduced from this point that the gains and loss in the more dependent will exhibit an spatially distributional attribution, or to say a characteristic of regionalism. Therefore, it will be truly difficult to expect to impose pressures on the government via nationwide united sectors or endowments. Economic geography can be the optimal framework for analyzing the collective actions which being taken to impose pressure on the government decision-making.

And it is nearly impossible to derive nationwide political action that based on the consideration of economic interests from economic geography, in another word, the government of the more dependent would face up to fairly diverse political claims even which are essentially all from people’s rational concerns on economic interests: generally, the regions which have a close economic ties with the less dependent will be the party whose interests are severely impaired, these regions tend to impose political pressure on the central government to comply with the political demands offered by the less dependent; in contrast, the regions which are hardly affected by the cutting off of economic ties or even gain from that, or actually have a relatively low economic ties with the less dependent, will tend to impose pressure on the government to reject the demands of the less dependent or adopt an indifferent attitude toward this issue. What’s more, the regions which interests are impaired tend to impose pressure on the government to accept the political demands of the less dependent, whereas the regions which are hardly impaired or even gain somewhat are prone to protest the political demands of the less dependent based on nationalism, or just take an indifferent attitude toward the whole matter.

Second, objectively, economic welfare is more of one of the factors that could affect the decision-making of the government of the more dependent than the sole one. The economic geographical lobbies from the impaired regions will not necessarily determine the final decision-making of the central government. The political bloc, which indicates the domestic endorsement and opposition to the central government, plays another pivotal role in the operation of the power in asymmetrical economic interdependence. The emergence of the political bloc complicates to a considerable extent the decision-making of the government of the more dependent. The more dependent would not certainly comply with the political demands of the less dependent due to the consideration on economic interests even if the economy of the regions being impaired accounts for a major portion of the overall economy. That is because the decision-making of the government of the more dependent is not only contingent on the consideration of gains and loss of the economic welfare, but also on their assessment of winning the election or staying in power. In this case, it is necessary to examine the effect of the political bloc. In the more dependent, no matter the party in power or the out-party, they all possess relatively stable political blocs of their own. The parties will make their decisions primarily according to the dominant wills in their respective political blocs.

For better examining that whether the economic leverages imposed by the less dependent to the more dependent will bring effective political power under asymmetrical economic interdependence, this article constructs a simplified model subsuming two major variables having been elaborated above — economic geography and political bloc. From the perspective of economic geography, the economic sections of the more dependent can be fundamentally divided into two parts: (A) the section whose economic interest being impaired; (B) the section whose economic interest being relatively unimpaired. And to take if accepting the political demands of the less dependent or not as criteria, the political blocs of the party in power of the more dependent could be divided into two parts as well: (C) the section which supporting to accept; (D) the section which opposing to accept. What this simplified model trying to address is that when the economy of the geographical section being impaired is more critical than that of the geographical section being relatively unimpaired, which situation is labeled as “A≥B” in Table 1 , what kind of policy choice would the more dependent government make under the constraint of political blocs?

Table 1 The Policy Choice of the Government of the More Dependent

 Economic Geography

Political Bloc

The distribution of the gains and loss in different sections


Predominance in Election


Coincident → Accept → Take effect


Non-coincident → Reject → Fail

* Source: Designed by the author.

It can be learned from the simplified model that if the political bloc and the economic geography are non-coincident, that is, the regions which share a closer economic relationship with the less dependent are not the major sources of the constituencies supporting the party in power, whereas the other regions that supporting the party in power oppose to accept the political or security demands from the less dependent. In this case, the former would fail to impose political pressures on the government effectively under the consideration on economic interests, consequently, the more dependent would have to reject the political or security demands from the less dependent, the power in the asymmetrical economic interdependence which possessed by the less dependent thereby fails. In contrast, when the political bloc and the economic geography are essentially coincident, that is, the regions which share closer economic ties with the less dependent are just the principal sources of the constituencies supporting the party in power, these regions thereby are able to impose effective pressures on the government, so the asymmetrical interdependent power is very likely to come into effect. In a word, unless both the economic welfare and the political bloc of specific geographical section occupy the dominant position in a state, their policy stands could hardly be able to determine the general stands of the state.

There are three points needed to be stressed in this model. First, the policy choice of the more dependent government essentially can be considered as the policy choice of the party in power. The party in power is a dynamic concept, not only indicating the incumbent, but also the prospective. Obviously, winning the election is the prerequisite for becoming the party in power, therefore the political bloc plays a crucial role via election campaign. Second, economic geography and political bloc are two independent phenomena. Nevertheless, when coming to real geographical distribution, those two phenomena might be somewhat overlapped, even coincident.[29] Moreover, It is just this overlapping at different level that increases the complication and dynamics of the interaction between economic geography and political bloc. Third, economic geography can influence political bloc. The former itself may contribute to the formation of the latter, or engender changes in it.

Research Methodology in the Case Study

1.        Qualitative analysis.

Detailed case studies: Russo-Ukraine Relations and Across Taiwan Strait Relations during the first decade of 21st century.

Why are these two cases? Representativeness.

a)        Both these two sets of relations are asymmetrical economic interdependence: Ukriane’s economy highly depends on Russia and Taiwain’s economy highly depends on Mainland China.

b)        Both Ukraine and Taiwan had undergone a series of elections concerning their political relationship with Russia and Mainland China respectively.

c)        There exist typical economic geography and political bloc in both Ukraine and Taiwan.

d)       In these two cases, two kinds of economic measures had been or would be utilized. Detailed analysis of the measures implemented by the less dependent will be fairly helpful to the integrity of the theoretical model, as economic strategy employed by the less dependent generally not only includes economic sanctions, but also economic incentives or the combined one. And I plan not only discuss the economic actions which had been taken by the state but also the actions which were planned or threaten to be taken, in this case, the case of Across Taiwan Strait relations would be potentially useful to the research.

e)        Through detailed analyzing these cases, I hope the findings could turn to help compensating and perfecting the above sketch of my theoretical model.

2.        Quantitative analysis.

Data are the essential section of the case study in this research. The following data are required for supporting the case analyzing and the theoretical model:

a)        Data which can reflect the situation of asymmetrical economic interdependence, such as exports and imports divided by products, foreign direct investment, external debt, and etc.

b)        Data which can reflect the economic geography of the more dependent.

c)        Data of the elections, specific to electoral districts.

d)       General statistics of the administrative regions of the more dependent, such as population, number of voters, GRP (Gross Regional Product), per capita GRP, and etc.

e)        Data that might reflect the economic changes in the more dependent brought about by the economic strategy of the less dependent.

Most of the above data can be collected from the statistical institutes of specific states and international organizations (UN, IMF, etc.); the others may be reached in relevant reports and academic papers.


[1] Literature with positive perspective, see: Solomon W. Polachek, “Conflict and Trade”, The Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 24, No. 1, 1980, pp. 55-78; Richard N. Rosecrance, The rise of the trading state: Commerce and conquest in the modern world, New York: Basic Books, 1986; John R. Oneal and Bruce N. Russett, “The Kantian Peace: The Pacific Benefits of Democracy, Interdependence, and International Organizations, 1885-1992”, World Politics, Vol. 52, No. 1, 1999, pp. 1-37; Erik Gartzke , Quan Li and Charles Boehmer, “Investing in the Peace: Economic Interdependence and International Conflict”, International Organization, Vol. 55, 2001, pp. 391-438. Literature with negative perspective, see: Katherine Barbieri, “Economic Interdependence: A Path to peace or a Source of Interstate Conflict?”, Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 33, No. 1, 1996, pp. 29 - 49Literature with neutral perspective, see: Barry Buzan, “Economic Structure and International Security: The Limits of the Liberal Case”, International Organization, Vol. 38, No. 4, 1984, pp. 597-624; Norrin M. Ripsman and Jean-Marc F. Blanchard, “Commercial Liberalism Under Fire: Evidence from 1914 and 1936,” Security Studies, Vol. 6, No. 2, 1996/97, pp. 4-50; Kenneth S. Waltz, “The Myth of National Interdependence”, In C. P. Kindleberger ed., The Multinational Corporation, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1970. 

[2] Robert O. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye, Power and interdependence: World politics in transition, Boston: Little, Brown, 1977, p. 10-11.

[3] David A. Baldwin, “Power Analysis and World Politics: New Trends versus Old Tendencies”, World Politics, Vol. 31, No. 2, 1979, p.176.

[4] Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye, Power and Interdependence, Harper Collins Publishers, 1989, p.11.

[5] Robert O. Keohane and Joseph S. Nye, Power and Interdependence, New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1989, p. 11.

[6] Mark J. C. Crescenzi, “Economic Exit, Interdependence, and Conflict,” The Journal of Politics, Vol.

65, No. 3, 2003, pp. 809-832.

[7] 邝艳湘: 《经济相互依赖、退出成本与国家间冲突升级———基于动态博弈模型的理论分析》,载《世界经济与政治》,2010 年第4 期,第131 页。

[8] R. Harrison Wagner, “Economic Interdependence, Bargaining Power, and Political Influence,” International Organization, Vol. 42, No. 3, 1988, pp. 461-483.

[9] 加利·克莱德·霍夫鲍尔著,杜涛译: 《反思经济制裁》,上海: 上海人民出版社2011 年版,第9 页。

[10] 加利·克莱德·霍夫鲍尔: 《反思经济制裁》,第129 页。

[11] Richard N. Haass, ed., Economic Sanctions and American Diplomacy, New York: Council on Foreign

Relations Press, 1998, p. 205.

[12] Risa A. Brooks, “Sanctions and Regime Type: What Works, and When?” Security Studies, Vol. 11, No.

4, 2002, pp. 1-50.

[13] Richard N. Haass, ed., Economic Sanctions and American Diplomacy, p. 203.

[14] Paul Krugman, Geography and Trade, London: MIT Press/Leuven UP, 1991, p.1.

[15] Peter Trubowitz, “Political Conflict and Foreign Policy in the United States: A Geographical Interpretation”, Political Geography, Vol. 12, No.2, March 1993, pp.121-135.

[16] Paul Krugman, “What’s new about the new economic geography?” Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Vol.14, No.2, pp.7-17. 

[17] Paul Krugman, “The New Economic Geography: Where Are We?”, Nov. 26, 2004,

[18] 钟飞腾:《社会行为体政策偏好:国际政治经济学研究的微观基础》,载《世界经济与政治》,2007年第4期,第54-60页。关于国际经济政策的国内政治影响,还可参见迈克尔·J·希斯考克斯:《国际贸易与政治冲突:贸易、联盟与要素流动程度》,北京:中国人民大学出版社,20055月第1版;Fiona McGillivray, Privileging Industry: The Comparative Politics of Trade and Industrial Policy, Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press, 2004, pp.1-72.

[19] Peter Trubowitz, Defining the National Interest: Conflict and Change in American Foreign Policy, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1998.

[20] Kevin R. Cox, Murray Low and Jennifer Robinson eds., The Sage Handbook of Political Geography, London: Sage Publications Ltd, 2008, pp.21-58. 

[21] John A. Agnew, Place and Politics in Modern Italy, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2002, p.3. 

[22] Reference on the distribution of the political blocs in the United States, see: Nicole Mellow, Peter Trubowitz, “Red versus blue: American electoral geography and congressional bipartisanship, 1898-2002”, Political Geography, Vol.24, No.6, pp.659-677; Charles E. Cook, “The Equilibrium Election”, The Washington Quarterly, Vol. 25, No.2, 2002, pp.251-256Reference on the distribution of the political blocs in Thailand, see: 孔建勋:《当代泰国中产阶层的政治表达和政党倾向》,载《东南亚南亚研究》,2010年第2期,第8-14页;Reference on the situation of the political blocs in Kyrgyzstan, see: Maxim Ryabkov, “The North–South Cleavage and Political Support in Kyrgyzstan”, Central Asian Survey, Vol.27, No.3, 2008, pp.301-316.

[23] Ron Shachar, “Party Loyalty as Habit Formation”, Journal of Applied Econometrics, Vol.18, 2003, pp. 251–269. 

[24] Kevin Denny and Orla Doyle, “Does Voting History Matter? Analysing Persistence in Turnout”, American Journal of Political Science, Vol.53, No.1, 2009, pp.17-35. 

[25] For instance, a long time attention has been paid to this field in American political studies. See: William G. Jacoby, “The American Voter”, in Jan Leighley, eds., The Oxford Handbook of American Elections and Political Behavior, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2010, pp.375-396; Michael Lewis-Beck, William Jacoby, Helmut Norpoth and Herbert Weisberg, The American Voter Revisited, Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2008, pp.138-160.

[26] William G. Mayer proved through quantitative analysis that as a group the swing voter may, when compared to the rest of the electorate, possess following traits: (1) Swing voters are less partisan than nonswing voters; (2) Swing voters are more likely to be moderates, both in general ideology and on specific issues; (3) Swing voters are less informed about and less interested in politics than nonswing voters; (4) Swing voters are demographically different from nonswing voters. See William G. Mayer, The Swing Voter in American Politics, Washington D.C.: The Brookings Institution, 2008, pp.1-31.

[27] Besides the dynamics of political bloc mentioned, there is a sudden movement of political bloc that appears in the form of  “Critical Elections”, in which large-scale and lasting electoral realignment occurs. See Chambers and Burham, ed. , The American Party System : Stages of Political Development, New York: Oxford University Press, 1975, p. 277.

[28] In fact, cutting off the existing economic ties such as economic sanctions is not the only vehicle through which the power of asymmetrical economic interdependence takes effect. There is still another possible situation, that is, the less dependent takes the measures of economic incentive, luring the more dependent to accept its political demands. Nonetheless, the article adopts the vehicle of locking the economic welfare which derived from the current economic ties alone as the logical start. Because the government of a state usually would not publicize the “carrot policy” from other countries actively.

[29] In certain sense, the disparities among economic geography bring about the geographical disparities among specific interests, then the geographical disparities among specific interests produce, via political representation, the geographical disparities among the political preferences. See Peter Trubowitz, “Political Conflict and Foreign Policy in the United States: A Geographical Interpretation,” in G. John Ikenberry ed., American Foreign Policy: Theoretical Issues, New York: Harper Collins, 1996, pp.395-411.