Recent and relevant RAND study “Understanding Influence in the Strategic Competition with China” by Michael J. Mazarr et al. cites the 2018 study on “Power and Influence in a Globalized World” by the Pardee Center for International Futures, the Atlantic Council and The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies, based on Pardee’s Formal Bilateral Influence Index:
“One of the most well-developed existing indexes of influence is the FBIC Index developed by Jonathan D. Moyer and colleagues in 2018. They sought to develop a foreign influence index partly because of the absence of an agreed concept. As they explain in their report:
Conspicuously absent in popular and scholarly debates is an understanding of what international influence is. Beyond anecdotal evidence or broad-brushed descriptions of the utility of ‘soft,’ ‘smart’ or ‘civilian’ power, there is simply neither a clear concept nor a systematic measurement of international influence derived from relational dependence.”
– Understanding Influence in the Strategic Competition with China, page 14-16
The 2018 joint publication “Power and Influence in a Globalized World” by the Atlantic Council, the University of Denver’s Pardee Center for International Futures and HCSS outlines the strategic framework of the international system’s capabilities and interactions amongst the global community.
The report shows how power and influence are derived from more than just coercive military capabilities, but are exercised through networks of economic, political, and security interactions involving states as well as non-state actors. The function of this report is to fill in the conceptual and empirical gaps, by creating a new index, the Foreign Bilateral Influence Capacity (FBIC) Index. The FBIC is tasked with identifying the key influencers in the international community, and analyzing those that register above or below their weight in the world, altogether clarifying where the United States and others stand in the international system. The FBIC Index is based on the interaction between states, as well as the relative dependence of one state on another.
The report includes graphs that demonstrate the international community’s fluctuation in distribution of global influence, where countries rank in terms of performance, and the regional reach of the most influential. Based on the research conducted, it is clear that China’s power and influence continues to rise, while Russia’s is waning. The report delves into the future of the international system, its characterization largely defined by networks of influence and continued spread of influential spheres in a world that continues globalizing.
The study written by Jonathan D. Moyer, Tim Sweijs, Mathew J. Burrows and Hugo van Manen can be downloaded here (PDF). For the methodological annex which reviews the rationale for including the individual dimensions, and provides a discussion of the data-sets we use, see here (PDF).