Dr Brandon Yoder

Senior Lecturer
ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Political Science 1606
  • International Relations 160607
  • Comparative Government And Politics 160603
  • Government And Politics Of Asia And The Pacific 160606
  • Experimental Economics 140206

Research interests

International Security, US-China Relations, Chinese Politics, Politics of East Asia, Power Transitions, Signaling and Credibility, Formal Models, Lab Experiments, Foreign Policy, Comparative Democratization


Brandon Yoder joined SPIR in 2020. He holds a Ph.D. in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia and a B.S. in neurobiology from Cornell University. He has previously worked at Old Dominion University, Yale-NUS College, and the National University of Singapore, where he also holds a concurrent appointment as a visiting research fellow in the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

Researcher's projects


  • Trust, Cooperation, and the Tradeoffs of Reciprocity (with Kyle Haynes). Conflict Management and Peace Science 41, 1 (2024), pp. 26–46
  • [SPECIAL ISSUE]: International Relations Theory and China-India Relations. Journal of Contemporary China 32, 141 (2023)
  • Explaining Cooperation and Rivalry in China-India Relations (with Kanti Bajpai). Journal of Contemporary China 32, 141 (2023), pp. 353-368
  • Provocation, Bargaining and War (with Hyun-Binn Cho and Kyle Haynes). Forthcoming at the Journal of Conflict Resolution
  • Endogenous Preferences, Credible Signaling, and the Security Dilemma: Bridging the Rationalist-Constructivist Divide (with Kyle Haynes). Forthcoming at the American Journal of Political Science
  • Reassurance through Resolve: Third-Party Bargaining, Alliance Formation and War (with Michael D. Cohen). Under review at World Politics



  • Mixed Signals: The Limits of Reassurance in International Relations
  • China’s Rise and the ‘Engagement-Containment’ Debate
  • The Policy Relevance of Formal Models
  • Prospect Theory, Credible Signaling, and Preventive War: An Experimental Analysis (with Kyle Haynes)
  • Appeasement as a Balancing Strategy (with Josh Shifrinson)
  • What if Interests Can Change? Reassurance and Cooperation with Unstable Preferences
  • Power Shifts, Multiple Audiences and Credible Cheap-Talk Signals (with Andrej Krickovic)
  • Realism’s Goldilocks Problem: Explaining Balancing Patterns in China-Russia Relations (with Alexander Korolev)


Book Manuscript: Uncertainty and Decline: Power Shifts, Credible Signaling, and US-China Relations

How can the US and other states form accurate beliefs about the intentions of a rising China? Signaling during power shifts has also been dramatically undertheorized, and the literature on China’s rise lack systematic criteria for inferring China’s intentions. This project presents a novel theoretical framework that identifies conditions under which a rising state’s behavioral signals are more or less credible, and criteria that scholars and policymakers can use to infer a state’s foreign policy goals from its past actions. The arguments are tested using historical case studies of British decline at the turn of the 20th century and of the early Cold War. The final two chapters apply the theoretical and empirical findings to contemporary US-China relations, to assess the credibility of China’s recent foreign policy signals and derive implications for US foreign policy.



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Updated:  23 April 2024 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers