Po-tung Chang

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Alan C. Issak

Second Advisor

Dr. Murray Scot Tanner

Third Advisor

Dr. Neil Pinney

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This study is dedicated to evaluating the capacity of game-theoretical models in analyzing and explaining international crises like mainland China-Taiwan relations. To highlight and reflect the nature of these complicated long-run relations, the author formulates a dynamic game model based on the combination of three well-known models, Deadlock, Prisoner's Dilemma, and Chicken instead of occupying one dominant model.

The mainland China-Taiwan relations (1949-1995) are divided into three individual phases in accordance with the configuration of game models: (1) the military confrontation phase (1949-78); (2) the peaceful competition phase (1978-86); and (3) the premature cooperation phase (1987-95). By generating and suggesting hypotheses, e.g., Chicken is more suitable than Prisoner's Dilemma in explaining mainland China-Taiwan relations in the post-Cold War era., the author tries to identify the likely patterns of strategy-choosing behavior of mainland China and Taiwan in terms of analyzing how, when , and why both sides adopted and shifted the strategies from one period to another. Also, the author witnesses a couple of limitations for the applications of game models.