What do American elites think about China? A text as data analysis of Congressional Hearings 2000-2015

Stream: Panel 28 - International Relations: Public Opinion and Foreign Policy 
Date: Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Time: 11.30 am – 1.00 pm


States' perceptions of one another are crucial for many IR scholars. Both constructivists and some realists contend that great powers' policies towards other great powers will be conditioned in part by whether they perceive each other's intentions to be hostile or benign. In the modern day, few issues are more important than how the United States manages the rise of China. In this context, American elite perceptions of China will be crucial. Yet perceptions are hard to measure. Human researchers alone can only examine a small proportion of all the documents which may contain information on how states perceive one another. We may, thereby, risk overgeneralization. Automated content analysis o ers a solution. This paper applies automated text analysis to a large sample of documents Congressional Committee Hearings from both the House and the Senate between 2000 and 2015. I nd that China is seen, marginally, as more of a security than an economic issue.


Charles Miller (Presenter), ANU