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

Researcher's projects


Costly Talk: Covert Action, Transparency, and Credible Reassurance (with William Spaniel). Forthcoming at International Organization

Reciprocation or Resolve? The Tradeoffs of Conditional Foreign Policy Strategies (with Kyle Haynes). Revise and resubmit at Conflict Management and Peace Science

Reassurance through Resolve: Third-Party Bargaining, Alliance Formation and War (with Michael D. Cohen). Under review at World Politics

Provocation, Bargaining and War (with Hyun-Binn Cho and Kyle Haynes). Under review at British Journal of Political Science

Signaling and Socialization: Reassurance with Endogenous Preferences (with Kyle Haynes). Under review at American Journal of Political Science

Edited Volume: International Relations Theory and China-Russia Relations after the Cold War. Published by Palgrave-Macmillan, 2022.

It has been widely noted that China and Russia have grown progressively closer over the last two decades, yet the bilateral relationship has been the subject of very little scrutiny using rigorous theory. This volume addresses the theoretical lacuna in the literature on China-Russia relations by bringing together leading scholars of international relations from various theoretical perspectives, as well as theoretically-informed experts in Chinese and/or Russian foreign policy. The chapters work in combination to both improve our understanding of a crucially important contemporary case, while also advancing IR theory in substantial ways.

Special Issue: International Relations Theory and China-India Relations (Forthcoming at Journal of Contemporary China)



Mixed Signals: The Limits of Reassurance in International Relations

China’s Rise and the ‘Engagement-Containment’ Debate

The Policy Relevance of Formal Models

How Third-Party Threats Facilitate Credible Reassurance

Power Shifts, Multiple Audiences and Credible Cheap-Talk Signals

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 findings al two chapters applied 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:  28 November 2022 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers