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Launched in November 2018 by the Trump administration, the China Initiative was meant to "protect US intellectual property and technologies against Chinese Economic Espionage". In practice, it made administrative procedures more complicated and funding less accessible for collaborative projects between Chinese and US researchers. In this paper we use information from the Scopus database to analyze how the China Initiative shock affected the volume, quality and direction of Chinese research. We find a negative effect of the Initiative on the average quality of both the publications and the co-authors of Chinese researchers with prior US collaborations. Moreover, this negative effect has been stronger for Chinese researchers with higher research productivity and/or who worked on US-dominated fields and/or topics prior to the shock. Finally, we find that Chinese researchers with prior US collaborations reallocated away from US co-authors after the shock and also towards more basic research.
Philippe Aghion, Celine Antonin, Luc Paluskiewicz, David Stromberg, Xueping Sun and Raphael Wargon
1 June 2023 Paper Number POIDWP075
Download PDF - Does Chinese research hinge on US co-authors? Evidence from the China Initiative