The third meeting of the Pacific International Politics Conference (PIPC) was held at Hong Kong University at the beginning of this month. I received the call for papers through the International Political Economy Society (IPES) email list earlier this year, and the combination of attractive location, substantive focus, and friendly (and established) organizers convinced me to send along an abstract. I haven’t made it to many conferences since moving to the UK, and feedback on work presented is always of mixed quality. PIPC, both in terms of the quality of feedback and the overall experience, has probably been the most useful conference I’ve attended so far.
The conference itself is somewhat small, with two streams of panels spread over two days. One stream focuses primarily on conflict studies and the other on IPE, which works quite nicely. The only d0wnside is that there were some attendees who were consistently in the other stream, so I didn’t get to meet them. Most of the research presented had a quantitative or experimental bent, a welcome departure from the mixed-bag approach to panels in larger conferences. There were lots of opportunities for chatting with other people, and these conversations were always friendly and collegial (again in contrast with some of the almost adversarial encounters I’ve had at places like APSA). The organizers are clearly interested in improving the experience for all participants, and this looks like a good venue to follow. Next year’s version will be hosted by Academia Sinica in Taipei, with a return to Hong Kong in 2020.
The paper I presented was a revision of my old Firms and Foreign Markets working paper posted on SSRN. I have extended the analysis of internationalization modes to explore their implications for firms’ material interests and the ways these influence firms’ attitudes toward cost- and factor-impacting foreign economic policies. In general, the results point to the importance of capturing the range of supply-chain participation modes at the firm level when making claims about policy attitudes. It was useful seeing where this fit in with other colleagues’ research, and the comments I got were helpful and thought-provoking. Now this project has a bit of a sense of direction again!