Political Conflict and Economic Interdependence Across the Taiwan Strait and Beyond


Scott L. Kastner

Studies in Asian Security


Stanford: Stanford University Press

Available From: Stanford University Press
Publication Date: 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8047-6204-5
Binding: paper
Pages: 256


Political Conflict and Economic Interdependence Across the Taiwan Strait and Beyond is the eleventh book in the Studies in Asian Security series sponsored by the East-West Center and published by Stanford University Press.

Why is it that political conflict between countries sometimes undermines commerce between those states, and yet at other times it seems to have little or no effect on cross-border economic flows? The question is an important one, yet, while numerous studies have considered how and to what extent international political conflict affects trade, few consider how and when economic linkages can develop despite hostile political relations. This book addresses that gap, and demonstrates that the impact of international political conflict on commerce will be muted when national leaders are accountable to internationalist economic interests--because such leaders will try to prevent political disputes with other countries from spilling over into economic arenas. The author develops this argument primarily through a detailed case study of a critically important contemporary case: the relationship between Mainland China and Taiwan. He then tests it via two shorter case studies.


Details and ordering information at
Stanford University Press

  1. Introduction
  2. International Conflict, Domestic Politics, and Economic Interdependence: Theory and Hypotheses
  3. Mainland China-Taiwan Relations as a Case Study
  4. Changing Taiwanese Economic Policy Toward Mainland China
  5. Making Commitments Credible: PRC Policy Toward Taiwan
  6. Completing the Circle: Economic Interdependence and the Prospects for Peace Across the Taiwan Strait and Beyond
  7. Generalizing the Empirical Findings Beyond the Taiwan Strait
  8. Conclusions
A. A Simple Model of Cross-Strait Bargaining and the Constraining Impact of Economic Interdependence
B. Further Details on Quantitative Tests and Robustness Checks



"Political Conflict and Economic Interdependence Across the Taiwan Strait is arguably one of the most important works of political science theory written about the Taiwan Strait written in recent years and makes a substantial contribution to our understanding of political decision-making."

--Taipei Times


"This is first rate political science, presenting a very well formulated and interesting research question--does economic interdependence mitigate inter-state conflict, particularly for the Taiwan-mainland relationship. There is no book like it on the market, and its ability to summarize Cross-Straits ties and put them within a theoretical and analytical framework is terrific."

--David Zweig, Chair Professor, Division of Social Sciences,
and Director, Center on China's Transnational Relations,
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology


"This important book provides an innovative analysis of relations across the Taiwan Strait and, more generally, enhances our theoretical understanding of the political economy of national security in an era of globalization."

--Thomas Christensen, Professor of Politics and International Affairs
and Director of the Princeton-Harvard China and the World Program,
Princeton University