PaCSS 2019 Conference


China is on the rise in global politics, especially due to their increasing influence in sub-Saharan Africa. How does this affect other states that are invested in this region? We argue that, as China enters the aid donor market with largely unconditional aid, it offers an attractive alternative to the highly conditional US aid. We expect that the increasing leverage from the US as a sole (main) provider of foreign aid as a result of Chinese presence allows sub-Saharan African states both to become more critical of US foreign politics and ultimately leads to a shift in expressed policy preferences, away from the US and more towards China. We further expect these effects to be particularly strong for states that recently came out of conflict and are in dire need of financial support. We test our assumptions by analyzing speeches at the United Nations General Debate to identify shifts in positive and negative sentiment of sub-Saharan African states towards the US and China. We also develop a scaling model of states’ policy preferences based on GloVe and Relaxed Word Mover’s Distance as well as a Bayesian IRT model to compare temporal shifts in countries’ alignment structures in the international context. To detect directed criticism, we also apply a targeted sentiment analysis and present an outlook on clause analysis. Preliminary results show that in particular post-conflict countries increasingly move away from and criticize the US as China starts investing in the region.

Aug 28, 2019 9:00 AM — 5:00 PM
Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
3700 O St NW, 20057 Washington, D.C.
Dennis Hammerschmidt
PhD Candidate | Data Scientist

I’m a PhD Candidate in Political Science working with all sorts of data sources across different statistical methods (NLP, networks, and ML) to understand and quantify the structure of international relations.