Electoral Politics in East Asia
My main research agenda focuses on the effects of mixed member legislative systems, with a focus on strategic voting, legislator behavior and perceptions, knowledge of the electoral system, and losers’ consent. Mixed systems allocate seats by single member districts (SMD) and by proportional representation (PR) in the same legislative chamber. My dissertation employed a multi-method approach to analyze the East Asian mixed systems (Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan) within a broader comparative framework at the district, legislator, and voter levels. My findings show that the interaction of institutional and party factors differs at the level of analysis, with greater evidence of a contamination effect between the seat types in district elections and legislator roll calls, but a clearer distinction in terms of legislator perceptions and behavior. While my regional focus remains East Asia, I have also analyzed aspects of three other mixed systems: Lesotho, Mexico, and Germany. Research along this agenda has been published in European Journal of Political Science, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Asian Politics & Policy, Journal of Asian and African Studies, Japanese Journal of Political Science, Representation, and Asian Journal of Political Science.
North Korean Politics
My secondary research interest focuses on North Korea’s domestic and international politics. I initiated a large automated content analysis project of North Korea’s English language news from the website of the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), covering daily news reports (1997-2012). This project blends qualitative and quantitative approaches while analyzing North Korea in their own words. I supplement content analysis with both elite interviews in South Korea and existing historical records. Analyses identified patterns in terms of countries and themes associated with nuclear references as well as the patterns in how the leadership (Kim Il Sung, Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un) are portrayed. Research along this agenda has been published in International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, Communist and Post-Communist Studies, Korea Observer, Asian Affairs: An American Review, and Review of Global Politics (全球政治評論) in Chinese.
Other Research Interests
My other research interests include diplomatic recognition, China-Africa and Taiwan-Africa relations, and the politics of microstates. I compiled an original dataset on diplomatic recognition of Taiwan, one of the first quantitative studies on why a country would recognize Taiwan over China, with results published in Issues & Studies. With colleagues I have analyzed how China’s rise and growing interest in Africa affects not only interests on both sides, but Taiwan’s interests as well. My interests in microstates focus primarily on political contention and democratization in these often ignored countries.
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