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How does autocratic lobbying affect political outcomes and media coverage in democracies? This talk focuses on a dataset drawn from the public records of the US Foreign Agents Registration Act. It includes over 10,000 lobbying activities undertaken by the Chinese government between 2005 and 2019. The evidence suggests that Chinese government lobbying makes legislators at least twice as likely to sponsor legislation that is favorable to Chinese interests. Moreover, US media outlets that participated in Chinese-government sponsored trips subsequently covered China as less threatening. Coverage pivoted away from US-China military rivalry and the CCP’s persecution of religious minorities and toward US-China economic cooperation. These results suggest that autocratic lobbying poses an important challenge to democratic integrity.
Erin Baggott Carter is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Southern California. There, she is also a Co-PI at the Lab on Non-Democratic Politics. She received a Ph.D. in Government from Harvard University, is currently a visiting scholar at the Stanford Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, and was previously a Fellow at the Stanford Center for International Security and Cooperation.
Dr. Carter's research focuses on Chinese politics and propaganda. She recently completed a book on autocratic propaganda based on an original dataset of eight million articles in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish drawn from state-run newspapers in nearly 70 countries. She is currently working on a book on how domestic politics influence US-China relations. Her other work has appeared or is forthcoming in the British Journal of Political Science, Journal of Conflict Resolution, and International Interactions. Her work has been featured by the New York Times, the Brookings Institution, and the Washington Post Monkeycage Blog.
This event is part of the 2021 Winter/Spring Colloquia series, Biden’s America, Xi’s China: What’s Now & What’s Next?, sponsored by APARC's China Program.