, Volume 67, Issue 1, pp 85–101 | Cite as

Explaining foreign diplomatic presence in the U.S. with spatial models: a liberal spatial perspective

  • Imam M. Xierali
  • Lin Liu


This paper examines the effect of economic interdependence, intergovernmental organizations, political freedom, and spatial relationship on foreign diplomatic presence in the U.S. from 1980 to 2000. Spatial perspective is largely missing in the mainstream international theories. Spatial relationship has three measures: spatial proximity measured as distance, spatial dependency measured as neighborhood effect, and spatial heterogeneity measured as regional effect. We found that the effect of economic interdependence is directional. The U.S. sensitivity to foreign trade rather than foreign sensitivity to trade with the U.S. explains much of the variation in the foreign diplomatic presence in the U.S. Spatial effect is mainly manifested as spatial dependency; the effects of geographic proximity and geographic regions on foreign diplomatic presence are, however, mild. Spatial dependency in the variation of foreign diplomatic presence in the U.S. could not be well explained by the liberal perspective without using the spatial model.


Economic interdependence Diplomatic relationship Spatial effect Spatial interaction International relations The United States 



The authors want to thank Professor Howard A. Stafford for his insightful contribution and continued support to this research. The authors would also like to thank Professor John O’Loughlin for sharing his dataset with them and for his cordial discussion about the research findings.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of CincinnatiCincinnatiUSA
  2. 2.School of Geography and PlanningSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouP. R. China

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