Carol Wise

Professor of Political Science and International Relations
Carol Wise
Email Office DMC 328A Office Phone (213) 740-2138

Research & Practice Areas

International political economy; institutional reform; international development; Latin American politics and economics; Interdevelopment; China-Latin American relations


  • Ph.D. Political Science, Columbia University, 1991
  • M.P.A. Columbia University, 1982
  • B.A. Sociology, University of California, 1974
  • Tenure Track Appointments

    • Associate Professor, USC-SIR, 08/2002 –
    • Assistant Professor, Claremont Graduate School, 07/1991 – 06/1994

    Research, Teaching, Practice, and Clinical Appointments

    • Assistant Professor (until 2000) Associate (2000-2002), Johns Hopkins University-SAIS, 1994-09-2002-06
  • Summary Statement of Research Interests

    Carol Wise joined the School of International Relations at the University of Southern California in 2002 after spending eight years on the Faculty at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC. She specializes in international political economy and development, with an emphasis on Latin America and Pacific Asia. She has written widely on trade integration, exchange rate crises, institutional reform, and the political economy of market restructuring in the region. Wise just completed a book-length project—Dragonomics: How Latin America is Maximizing (or Missing Out) on China’s International Development Strategy (Yale University Press, 2020)—which analyzes the rapid and remarkable ties that have developed between China and Latin America since the 1990s. Her study approaches this phenomenon from three main angles: the relative rise of China in the global economy such that it has now replaced the U.S. as the most important trading partner for an increasing number of countries in Latin America; the more heterodox and flexible approach to economic policy management that increased relations with China has instilled in its main Latin American partners; and, the political implications of the growing presence of a “new” hegemon in the Western Hemisphere, one that has resisted the longstanding U.S. notion that liberal capitalist democracy is the only acceptable form of governance. Wise’s most recent publications include The Political Economy of China-Latin America Relations in the New Millennium(co-edited with Margaret Myers, Routledge, 2016); “Playing both Side of the Pacific: Latin America’s Free Trade Agreements with China,” Pacific Affairs (2016); and, “Conceptualizing China-Latin America Relations in the 21st Century,” The Pacific Review (2018). Prof. Wise held the Fulbright-Masaryk University distinguished Chair, Czech Republic, in 2019.

    Research Keywords

    International political economy, international development, trade integration, financial politics, Asia, China, Latin America, emerging markets, Pacific Rim

    Research Specialties

    International political economy; institutional reform; international development; Latin American politics and economics; Interdevelopment; China-Latin American relations

    Detailed Statement of Research Interests

    Summary of my forthcoming book: Dragonomics—How Latin America is Maximizing (or Missing Out on) China’s International Development Strategy (Yale University Press, 2020). It would be difficult to exaggerate the sea change that has occurred within the Latin American and Caribbean region (LAC) as a result of China’s phenomenal rise within the international political economy over the past three decades. With its entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001, China crossed a new threshold in its ambitious export-led development model. The country’s heightened demand for copper, crude oil, iron ore, soybeans and fishmeal kicked off a decade-long commodity lottery from 2003-2013 which saw the unit price on these goods increase 2-3 times over this decade. LAC countries with an abundance of these natural resources, like Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Peru, have sold directly to China and made out handsomely. But even countries like Mexico, where excess oil supplies are sold to the U.S. market, were able to benefit indirectly from the steep spike in prices during this time. China’s slower growth since 2013 and hence its lower demand for commodities reflects reform bottlenecks in that economy.

    The pass-through for LAC has been a slowing of growth to 1-2 percent on average since 2013, versus an average growth rate of 6 percent between 2003 and 2007. However, unlike the post-boom phase of earlier times, most LAC countries have their macroeconomic house in order and policy makers succeeded in engineering a fairly soft landing. Moreover, the data on trade and FDI suggest that China has become a fixed feature of the political-economic landscape in Latin America.  In 2018 total China–LAC trade (exports and imports) hit US$306 billion, up from just a few billion dollars in 2000. China’s outflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) to LAC over this same period was around US$129 billion. Total development lending from China’s two big policy banks to the LAC region since 2005 reached US$150 billion in 2017.  By all accounts, these figures are expected to continue growing. This phenomenon lies at the intersection of the fields of international political economy, development economics, and comparative politics, and this is the space that this book seeks to fill.

    In Part One of the book I explore the debates that have surrounded the study of China-Latin American relations since the take-off in the early 2000s (chapter one); I then situate this relationship in its proper historical context, going back to the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949, all the way up to the present (chapter two); from there follows a comparative political economy analysis of the decidedly different economic reform strategies undertaken in the 1980s by China, on one side of the Pacific, and the LAC countries, on the other (chapter 3). Part One’s main findings: a) Although political goals initially motivated the relationship on both sides, by the late 1980s economic concerns had basically superseded politics; b) the China-LAC relationship varied considerably across the six emerging economies (EEs) considered here (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Peru); and, c) there is a certain path dependence to this story, as China’s ties with those LAC EEs now struggling most in the wake of the boom (Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico) have changed little during the pre-boom, boom, and post-boom periods.

    Part Two of the book probes the ways in which China’s political economic engagement in the region has varied according to a given country’s endowment factors, institutional rigor and depth, and the nature of the development model in place at the turn of the century. I identify three political-economic clusters that have sprung to life over the past two decades: 1) competitive disadvantage, which refers to China’s relationship with Mexico; 2) complementary advantage, which captures the nature of China’s ties with Argentina and Brazil; and, 3) the FTA (free trade agreement) route, which is the path chosen by Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru, each of which has negotiated an FTA with China in the 2000s. Part Two’s main findings: a) the three “least likely” FTA countries (Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru) have been the most successful in brokering the China challenge; b) the more complementary EEs (Argentina and Brazil) were deterred from essential reform tasks by the aura of plenty in the boom period and are now flirting with the resource curse; and, c) Mexico’s lack of a concrete strategy toward China dates back to the 1980s, since the advent of Deng Xiaoping’s visionary “going out” strategy, and has now put this country at a serious disadvantage vis-à-vis China.

  • Contracts and Grants Awarded

    • The Security And Prosperity Partnership: Expanding The Boundaries, (Canadian Consulate General), Wise, Carol, $10,143, 03/14/2008 – 04/30/2008
    • CHINA MEXICO AND THE COMPETITION FOR U.S. MARKET SHARE:, (Haynes Foundation), Carol Wise, $10,000, 03/01/2006 – 06/30/2007
    • China Mexico And The Competition For U.S. Market Share: Los Angeles as a Commercial Hub, (Haynes (John Randolph and Dora) Foundation), Wise, Carol, $11,500, 03/01/2006 – 06/30/2007
    • SKILLS DISTRIBUTION AND THE NEW CONTINENTAL DIVIDE: THE MEXICAN, (Department of Education), D.T. Manahan, Carol Wise, $47,285, 07/01/2004 – 12/31/2005

    USC Funding

    • Facutly Research Award, USC US-China Institute. China and the Twilight of North American Integration: This project analyzes the huge change in China’s economic relationship with North America. My hypothesis is that a North American strategy toward China would accomplish important US policy goals., $2900, 2008-2009
    • Future Fuels & Energy Initiative, USC Provost’s Office. “Transitioning to a New Energy Fuel Paradigm: The : A study of the role that NGOs have played in upholding environmental standards on the part of the 6-company consortium that is developing natural gas in the Peruvian Amazon., $5000, 2006-2007
    • CIBER-DOE Project, Marshall School of Business. CHINA’S GROWING ECONOMIC PRESENCE IN NORTH AMERICA: : Funding to support the creation of a database that documents the the trade and investment competition related to China’s entry into the North American market., $2500, 2006-2007
  • Book

    • Wise, C., Myers, M. (2016). The Political Economy of China-Latin America Relations in the New Millennium: Brave New World. New York, New York: Routledge.
    • Wise, C., Armijo, L., Katada, S. (2015). Unexpected Outcomes: How Emerging Economies Survived the Global Financial Crisis. Washington, DC: Brooking Institution Press.
    • Wise, C., Studer, I. (2007). Requiem or Revival? The Promise of North American Integration. Brookings Institution Press.
    • Wise, C. (2003). Reinventing the State: Economic Strategy and Institutional Change in Peru. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
    • Wise, C., Roett, R. (2003). Post-Stabilization Politics in Latin America: Competition, Transition, Collapse. Brookings Institution Press.

    Book Chapters

    • Quiliconi, C., Wise, C. (2009). The US as a Bilateral Player: The Impetus for Asymmetric Free Trade Agreements. pp. 97-127. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan.
    • Wise, C. (2008). The US Competitive Liberalization Strategy: Canada’s Policy Options. pp. pp. 225-247. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
    • Wise, C. (2007). Energy Cooperation in the Western Hemisphere: Peru. Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies.

    Journal Article

    • Wise, C. (2018). “Conceptualizing China-Latin America Relations in the 21st Century”. The Pacific Review.
    • Wise, C. (2016). “China and Latin America’s Emerging Economies: New Challenges amid Old Realities”. Latin American Policy. Vol. 7 (1), pp. 26-151.
    • Wise, C. (2016). “Playing both Sides of the Pacific: Latin America’s Free Trade Agreements with China”. Pacific Affairs. Vol. 89 (1), pp. 75-100.
    • Pastor, M., Wise, C. (2015). “Goodbye Financial Crash, Hello Financial Eclecticism: Latin American Responses to the 2008-09 Global Financial Crisis”. Journal of International Money and Finance. Vol. 52, pp. 200-2017.
    • Wise, C. (2008). The North American Free Trade Agreement. New Political Economy. Vol. 14, pp. 135-149.
    • Wise, C., Quiliconi, C. (2007). China’s Surge in Latin American Markets: Policy Challenges and Responses. Politics and Policy. Vol. 35, pp. 410-438.
    • Wise, C., Pastor, M. (2005). The Lost Sexenio: Vicente Fox and the New Politics of Economic Reform in Mexico. Latin American Politics and Society. Vol. 44, pp. 135-160.
    • Wise, C., Cameron, M. (2004). The Political Impact of NAFTA on Mexico: Reflections on the Political Economy of Democratization. Canadian Journal of Political Science. Vol. 37, pp. 301-323.
    • Wise, C., Pastor, M. (2001). Argentina: From Poster Child to Basket Case. Foreign Affairs/Council on Foreign Relations. Vol. 80, pp. 60-72.
    • Wise, C. (1999). Latin American Trade Strategy at Century’s End. Business and Politics. Vol. 1, pp. 2-46.
    • Wise, C., Pastor, M. (1999). Stabilization and Its Discontents: Argentina’s Economic Restructuring in the 1990’s. World Development. Vol. 27, pp. 477-503.
    • Wise, C., Brysk, A. (1997). Liberalization and Ethnic Conflict in Latin America. Comparative International Development. Vol. 32, pp. 76-104.
    • Wise, C., Pastor, M. (1997). State Policy, Distribution, and Neoliberal Reform in Mexico. Journal of Latin American Studies. Vol. 29, pp. 419-456.
    • Wise, C., Pastor, M. (1994). The Origins and Sustainability of Mexico’s Free Trade Policy. International Organization. Vol. 48, pp. 459-489.
    • Wise, C. (1994). The Politics of Peruvian Economic Reform. Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs. Vol. 36, pp. 75-125.
    • Wise, C., Pastor, M. (1992). Peruvian Economic Policy in the 1980s: From Orthodoxy to Heterodoxy and Back. Latin American Research Review. Vol. 27, pp. 83-117.
    • Wise, C., Wilson, P. (1986). The Regional Implications of Public Investment in Peru. Latin American Research Review. Vol. 21, pp. 93-116.
    • USC Phi Kappa Phi Book Award, Social Sciences, 2021-2022
    • LASA Luciano Tommassi Book Award, Honorable Mention , 2020-2021
    • USC or School/Dept Award for Teaching, Provost’s undergraduate mentoring award, 2020-2021
    • Fulbright Award, Masaryk University Fulbright Distinguished Scholar Award, Spring 2019
    • Advancing Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences, USC Faculty Award to support completion of a book manuscript on “China, Latin America, and the End of Neoliberalism.”, 2010-2011
    • Senior Fulbright Specialist Lecturer, Universidad del Pacifico, Lima, Peru, Spring 2011
    • Center for International Business Education Research (CIBER)-U.S. Department of Education Award, USC Marshall School of Business, for the promotion of scholarship on China-US-Latin American economic relations, 2006-2010
    • Visiting Scholar, Center for US-Mexico Studies, U.C. San Diego, Spring 2009
    • USC U.S. China Institute Summer Travel Grant, 2007-2008
    • Faculty Fellowship Research Grant, Earhart Foundation (Ann Arbor, Michigan), “China’s Growing Economic Presence in North America: Risks, Opportunities, & Strategic Options.”, 2006-2007
    • Faculty Fellowship, John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Foundation of Los Angeles, “China, Mexico, & Competition for the U.S. Market: Los Angeles as a Commercial Hub.”, 2006-2007
    • Future Fuels & Energy Initiative, USC Provost’s Office, “Transitioning to a New Energy Fuel Paradigm: The Development, Adaptation, and Export of Natural Gas from the Andean Region.”, 2006-2007
    • Fulbright Award, Senior Fulbright Specialist, Beirut, Lebanon. Six weeks of collaboration with the College of Letters and Arts at Lebanon American University, toward the goal of introducing a teaching and research module on Latin American Studies., 2006
    • Public Policy Scholar, North American Studies, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC., 2006
    • USC Zumberge Research and Innovation Fund Award, James H. Zumberge USC Faculty Research & Innovation Fund Award., 2004-2006
    • Fulbright Award, Carleton University Fulbright Chair in North American Studies, Ottawa, Canada., 2005
    • Fulbright Award, Garcia-Robles Senior Fulbright Faculty Award, Universidad de las Americas, Puebla, Mexico., 2005
    • Faculty Enrichment Grant, Canadian Embassy of Washington, DC, 1999-2002
    • Rockefeller Fellowship Recipient, Bellagio Center Fellow-in-Residence, Rockefeller Foundation, 2001
    • Rockefeller Fellowship Recipient, Rockefeller Foundation Faculty Fellow, University of Cape Town, Centre for African Studies, South Africa, 1999
    • Fellowship for Studies in International Economic Conflict, U.S. Institute of Peace, Washington, DC, 1996-1998
    • Fulbright Award, American Area Republics Program, 1996
    • Residency at the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, Guest Scholar, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Washington, DC, 1994
    • John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship in Peace and International Cooperation, 1992-1993
  • Conferences Organized

    • Organizer, Post-NAFTA Security Concerns, University of the Americas, Puebla, Mexico, 2006-2007

    Professional Offices

    • Executive Board Member, Association of Canadian Studies in the U.S., 2007-2008

    Professional Memberships

    • Council on Foreign Relations, 09/2002 –
    • Pacific Council for International Policy, 09/2002 –
    • Association of Canadian Studies in the U.S., 09/2000 –
    • International Studies Association, 06/1996 –
    • Latin American Studies Association, 01/1985 –

    Media, Alumni, and Community Relations

    • Fox News interview about the languishing US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, 2008-2009
    • PBS-Worldfocus interview about the escalation of drug-related violence in Northern Mexico, 2008-2009
    • Regular Spanish Language Commentator on Latin American Economic News, NBC/Telemundo, 2008-2009
    • Washington Post interview on the currency turmoil in Latin American markets, 2008-2009
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