ARC's Future Fellowship Awarded to Associate Professor Benjamin Goldsmith
By Associate Professor Benjamin Goldsmith
24 July, 2014
“Global Challenges, Reluctant Publics? The Role of Public Opinion in International Cooperation on Crucial Global Issues.”
Does public opinion in countries around the world matter for global cooperation to address urgent challenges? How readily is opinion influenced or manipulated by interested actors, and what are the key factors affecting people’s attitudes and the strength of those attitudes?
In this project I will assess the role of public opinion in international cooperation, taking on these questions with research designed to find solid answers using a range of evidence and methods. I will combine historical analysis of cooperation success and failure, quantitative analysis of cross-national survey data, and analysis of survey experiments specifically designed for this project conducted in eight regionally significant countries with key roles in international cooperation success: Australia, Brazil, China, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, and the U.S. The current issues I have chosen – climate change, food security, global financial system regulation, international terrorism, and the U.N.'s Millennium Development Goal of a "partnership for development" – exhibit varying degrees of actual interstate cooperation, providing solid foundation for comparative inference about causation.
Theoretically I develop the idea of the "supply" of international cooperation, to accompany the well-established notion of the "demand" for cooperation. My approach considers three aspects of international cooperation that make the study of the role of public opinion in international cooperation distinct because they provide additional criteria that interact with those surrounding the issue itself. First, questions of sovereignty are involved because cooperation implies a state’s binding commitment. Second, the costs and benefits of cooperation are often distributed unevenly among states, especially in the short- to medium-term, such that citizens in one country might disproportionately bear the costs, while more benefits are reaped by citizens of another. Third, international cooperation might give an added degree of perceived legitimacy to an issue, because of the implied consensus among participants, and/or the formal approval in international law through a treaty or international organization.
For the final list of successful ARC Future Fellowships proposals for funding commencing in 2014, please click HERE
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