Information Sharing in Early Stage International Disputes: How China and Japan Communicate
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This study explores the mechanism by which countries share information through international and domestic media in the early stages of international disputes. Despite the rich theoretical literature on crisis bargaining and widespread concerns over various sources of conflict in the Asia-Pacific region, early stage disputes have not been fully modeled. We theorize them in a framework in which countries do not seek immediate redistribution of goods at stake and restrain themselves from escalating the dispute while pursuing an advantageous standing. In the model, two countries simultaneously choose the amount of input in provocative actions with one-sided unknown cost of input and, in advance, a country possessing private information chooses the degree to which it reveals the private information to the counterpart and the domestic public. We demonstrate that exogenous agencies, such as domestic and international media, who are able to verify information, incentivize countries to share private information and provide even greater incentives when these agencies incur a favorable bias in information transmission. Conversely, countries surrounded by hostile international media and relatively uncontrollable domestic media are likely to send noisy signals, which undermines the quality of information transmission. In early stage disputes, therefore, the international news environment and domestic freedom of the press greatly affect information sharing between disputants. To illustrate this mechanism, we analyze governmental statements and subsequent news articles publicized during the Sino-Japanese aircraft scrambling incidents in 2014 using the quantitative text analysis (QTA) method.
KeywordsEarly stage disputes Information sharing Noisy signals Media Quantitative text analysis (QTA)
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