Michael Weaver

Assistant Professor

Research Interests

Politics of violence
Ethnic politics and media
Causes and consequences of ethnic violence
Legitimacy of state and non-state violence

Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs


Graduate Student Supervision

Master's Student Supervision

Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.

Navigating shifts in power : prospect theory and the evolution of US relations with China and Japan (2023)

Why does a hegemon abruptly transition its stance toward certain powers from cooperation to confrontation? Using the example of U.S.-China and U.S.-Japan relations, I argue that, for a hegemon, changing state dispositions are not predominantly about military strength, ideology, nor adherence to global norms. Instead, drawing upon prospect theory, I suggest an economic and behavioral reasoning. I argue the United States’ contradictory actions are better understood as decisions made following transitions from a “domain of gain” to a “domain of loss,” spurred by economic disruptions to the status quo. To test this assertion, I use the synthetic control method to simulate a counterfactual path for China and Japan – their expected outcome had they never reached key economic thresholds. I find that the 35 to 40 percent range of proportional GDP relative to the United States coincides with a significant increase in negative sentiment, across different measures. This suggests there are important psychological considerations influencing state behavior, factors which traditional theories of international relations overlook.

View record


Membership Status

Member of G+PS
View explanation of statuses

Program Affiliations


If this is your researcher profile you can log in to the Faculty & Staff portal to update your details and provide recruitment preferences.


Learn about our faculties, research and more than 300 programs in our Graduate Viewbook!