Dimensions of Cybersecurity: Espionage, Rivalry, and Political Economy




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This dissertation consists of three interrelated projects and explores how cybersecurity affects trade relations, espionage patterns, and militarized conflict behavior. My first project explores data localization measures as a response to shocks of severe cyber incidents. I argue that severe cyber incidents are punctuating events that shock the system, bringing the issue of strengthened data protection to the policymaking agenda. To test this argument, I created a novel database of data localization measures for 163 states between 2000-2020. My second project focuses specifically on China, and how it uses cyber espionage to change its geopolitical environment. Using a text-as-data approach, I hand-coded data found in 600 websites, articles, and technical reports to disaggregate Chinese espionage from broader data sets, allowing me to test hypotheses related to international and domestic politics. My last project explores whether cyber operations are used as complements or substitutes (or neither) to conventional militarized confrontations. I argue that a unique logic exists for why a state would choose cyber over more traditional means of conflict, and this depends, largely, on the rivalry status of a given pair of states. To test my hypotheses, I examine cyber operations and militarized incidents between 2000-2014.



Political Science, International Law and Relations, Political Science, General