Diplomats are often the face of Chinese foreign policy. Despite the important role that diplomats play in informing and implementing China’s foreign affairs work, however, comparatively little attention has been afforded to their professional mobility. Dr Jost and colleagues have introduced original data documenting over 11,000 career assignments of 1,357 senior Chinese diplomats since 1949 and leveraged these data to explore which types of demographic traits and professional experiences contribute to their promotion and survival. The findings show that diplomats who secure assignments in the Beijing headquarters, both early and late in their careers, are systematically more likely to promote to higher rank. Dr Jost and colleagues also found that managing relations during foreign conflicts, such as border clashes, may improve promotion prospects more than successfully managing cooperative outcomes, such as treaty negotiations.
Tyler Jost is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Brown University. He is currently on sabbatical leave as the David and Cindy Edelson Fellow in US Foreign Policy and International Security at Dartmouth College. His research focuses on national security decision-making, bureaucratic politics and Chinese foreign policy. His research has been published in International Security, Journal of Conflict Resolution and International Studies Quarterly. Dr Jost’s first book, Bureaucracies at War, examines how different types of bureaucratic institutions across the world lead to better and worse foreign policy decisions. He is currently working on a second book, examining the domestic origins of international engagement. Dr Jost completed his doctoral degree in the Department of Government at Harvard University and held postdoctoral fellowships at the Belfer Center International Security Program at the Kennedy School of Government, as well as in the China and the World Program at Columbia.