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US Dominance in International Relations and Security Scholarship in Leading Journals

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Published Article

Cullen Hendrix

June 12, 2019

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Part of a special issue, coordinated by Jeff Colgan of Brown University, on US dominance in international relations scholarship.

This article investigates the factors that affect scholarly attention on particular countries in four major international relations (IR) journals: International Studies QuarterlyInternational OrganizationInternational Security, and World Politics for the period 1970 to the present. The analysis supports three basic conclusions. First, the United States receives the most scholarly attention in leading IR journals by a large margin. Second, a baseline model of scholarly attention, including just population, gross domestic product (GDP), and a dummy for the United States fits the data rather well. Additional factors such as membership in prominent international organizations or involvement in armed conflicts improve model fit, but only marginally, with little evidence of regional or English-language bias. And third, there is only weak evidence that countries with stronger economic and security linkages with the United States receive more attention. However, Israel and Taiwan—two countries with unique security relationships with the United States—receive more scholarly attention than either the baseline or augmented models would predict. Our analysis of bibliometric data from leading IR journals indicates the United States is the three-hundred-thousand-pound blue whale of IR scholarship. However, this emphasis is not particularly outsized when its large population, economy, and its extensive history of participation in interstate wars are taken into account.

Keywords: Foreign Policy