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Atlantic Council – China-US competition: Measuring global influence

“There is a lot of discussion these days about China’s growing influence around the world relative to America’s—and how this sprawling contest for clout is shaping the future of geopolitics.Now we have a way to track and quantify this intensifying competition across time using the Formal Bilateral Influence Capacity (FBIC) Index, a new measure of influence between pairs of states from 1960 through 2020. Spanning economic, political, and security dimensions, the FBIC Index attempts to capture 1) the volume of interactions between pairs of countries and 2) the dependence that one country has on the other. Why this two-pronged approach? Two countries that interact more frequently and across more dimensions of activity are more likely to have opportunities to exert influence on one another. A country with high levels of dependence on another for its economic activity or security, for example, can be more easily influenced. We refer to the combination of these factors as “influence capacity.” We dive into our findings in detail in our new report, China-US competition: Measuring global influence. To introduce our findings, below are fifteen of the study’s key takeaways, visualized.

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