Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2020

Thesis Advisor(s)

Professor Meina Cai, Professor Matthew Singer

Honors Major

Political Science


Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics | Comparative Politics | Intellectual Property Law | International Business | International Economics | International Law | International Relations | International Trade Law | Political Economy


This thesis aims to further the current scholarship on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and their effects on international trade and the US-China trade relationship more specifically. The main analysis of this thesis is a quantitative cross-country analysis of over 100 countries to see how IPR plays a role in international trade, while analyzing how the Sino-US trade relationship fits into larger trends. This thesis aims to answer the questions as follows: What are the current policies surrounding Intellectual Property Rights between China and the US? Does increasing the strength of IPR laws influence imports? Does the strength of a country’s legal environment influence imports? What is significant about this relationship in terms of current Sino-US trade relations? I argue that China’s IPR strength has increased over time which has a partial effect on the increase in international trade with the US. My results show that on average both an increase in the strength of a country’s IPR laws and legal environment is associated with an increase in imports.