Project | 01

Chasing Emulation

A Korean Model of Financial Development

I am working on a book manuscript that explores how and why South Korea’s financial system drastically diverged from the Japanese model of a bank-based one from the early 1980s and how it has been converted into a U.S. model of a market-based system. Unlike existing studies that have emphasized the coercion and normative pressures imposed by the International Monetary Fund or the U.S. government, I argue that voluntary emulation, led by the indigenous state elite, have played a more pivotal role in this transformation. In particular, I highlight how Korea’s economic policy networks, which have been constructed by those U.S.-trained economists among high-ranking government officials and academia, have facilitated the rapid financial liberalization and how those organized few have dominated over the majority view in the policymaking even after the democratization since the late 1980s.

Project | 02

San Francisco Peace Regime 2.0

This research explores the diverging threat perceptions regarding North Korea in the U.S.-ROK alliance relationship. It will investigate the historical origins of the U.S.-ROK alliance and the sources of conflicts between the two countries regarding the threats from North Korea. It will then explore how the threat perceptions have evolved over time, converging and diverging, depending on the global, regional, and inter-Korean security dimensions. A primary focus of the research is placed on the diverging threat perceptions between the U.S. and South Korea for the past two decades, especially after the Korean version of engagement policy toward North Korea, the “Sunshine Policy” from the late 1990s. This research investigates the incomplete nature of the San Francisco Peace regime in the 1950s and how the perception gaps have evolved, depending on the dynamics of different regime characteristics and top leadership in both countries. A book-length monograph tentatively titled, "Building a San Francisco Peace Regime 2.0," will argue for the necessity of the 21st-century version of a new security arrangement in Northeast Asia. I expect this research to provide illuminating policy suggestions for building an Asia-centered version of a NATO-like collective security regime in Northeast Asia. 

Project | 03

Global Monetary Spillover & Emerging Market Risks

This research explores (1) why governments in advanced economies, including the United States, the Eurozone, and Japan, have continued the unconventional monetary easing policies since the global financial crisis of 2008, and (2) how such policies have had spillover effects upon the emerging markets.  Few existing studies have explored what politics has enabled the sustenance of such unconventional measures. I will attempt to explain the reasons for the continued monetary easing policies with a “political capture” view: Policymakers have responded according to the interests of major financial institutions of society while caring less about the global spillover effects of their monetary policies. This paper will analyze when and how the rate cut decisions were made.