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(With Yu-Ming Liou) International Organization, Volume 76, Issue 3, Summer 2022

What determines public support for trade liberalization? Scholars of international political economy have generally focused on the effects of openness on employment via individuals’ skill level, sector, or occupation. Recent developments in trade economics suggest that the characteristics of individual citizens’ employing firms may also shape their attitudes on trade policy. In this paper, using under-explored survey data combining trade opinion with measures of employer productivity (from the 2008 Japanese General Social Survey), we present evidence that employees of more productive, more globalized firms are much more supportive of trade openness than employees of less productive, domestically oriented firms, even when accounting for skill level and sectoral and occupational characteristics. Moreover, we find evidence that the effects of these characteristics described in the literature are conditioned by globalized firm employment. Last, we find that the effect of globalized firm employment is conditioned by employees’ relative position within their firms. Those who are more likely to benefit directly from firm success—such as permanent employees and managers—hold the most pro-trade preferences. These findings suggest that economic interests affect individual policy preferences in more nuanced ways than previously recognized.

(With Philip Lipscy) International Organization, Volume 73, Issue 1, Winter 2019

Why have East Asian countries such as South Korea and Singapore accumulated excessive amounts of foreign reserves? We argue that this is an act of self-insurance.  We argue that the IMF creates a biased global insurance mechanism – distributing moral hazard unevenly across the international system.  Using a panel data set covering 1980-2010, we show that IMF members expected to exercise strong influence over the institution’s decisions tend to be associated with outcomes indicative of moral hazard: more generous treatment by the IMF, lower reserves, and more frequent currency crises.  Countries that lack such influence behave very differently, pursing aggressive self-insurance through reserve accumulation.  We support our causal claims by using the synthetic control method to examine Taiwan’s expulsion from the IMF in 1980: consistent with our theory, expulsion led to a sharp increase in international reserves. 

(With Robert Kubinec and Andrey Tomashevskiy) 
Comparative Political Studies, Forthcoming 

In this experiment, we manipulate corporate political connections to assess whether a company’s political influence serves as a barrier or an inducement to investment. We utilize survey data from 3,329 firm employees and managers across Venezuela, Ukraine, and Egypt. Overall, our findings suggest that respondents generally prefer not to invest in companies with political connections. Interestingly, this aversion is conditional on the respondent’s company’s own level of political connection: individuals from highly connected companies do not penalize connected companies as investment choices. In contrast, those from less-connected companies are inclined to invest in companies without political connections. We theorize that this pattern is rooted in differences in how companies with varying levels of connections manage liabilities. Our data reveal that connected
companies are more likely to employ informal, rather than formal, mechanisms to resolve disputes. We argue that unconnected investors likely prefer investing in unconnected companies to better ensure that their property rights are safe- guarded.

(With Robert Kubinec and Andrey Tomashevskiy) 
Social Science Quarterly, Volume 102, Issue 5, 2021

While the aim of COVID-19 policies is to suppress the pandemic, many fear that the burden of the restrictions will fall more heavily on less privileged groups. We show one potential mechanism for COVID-19 responses to increase inequality by examining the intersection of business restrictions and business political connections. We fielded an online survey of 2735 business employees and managers in Ukraine, Egypt, and Venezuela over the summer of 2020 to collect data on companies' closures due to COVID-19 and nuanced information about their political connections. We show that businesses with political connections to government officials were significantly less likely to shut down as a result of COVID-19 policies. This finding suggests that measures designed to mitigate COVID-19 are ineffective in countries with a weak rule of law if politically connected firms are able to circumvent restrictions by leveraging political connections to receive preferential treatment. In addition, politically connected firms are no more likely—and sometimes even less likely—to engage in social-distancing policies to mitigate the pandemic despite the fact that they are more likely to remain open.

대한민국 방문외교의 경제교류 효과 분석: 1990~2016 대(對)개발도상국 방문외교를 중심으로
Unveiling the Impact of South Korea’s Diplomatic Visits on Interstate Economic Relations: Evidence from Visit Diplomacy with 130 Developing Countries, 1990-2016

Journal of Korean Politics, Volume 32, Issue 2, 20223

Past South Korean presidents have uniformly highlighted the economic advantages of diplomatic visits, including elevated foreign aid and amplified trade. Despite this, a systematic empirical assessment has yet to be conducted within the Korean context to determine whether such visits act as significant catalysts in modifying the trajectory of economic exchanges between the involved countries. To address this gap, this study utilizes diplomatic visit data between South Korea and 130 developing countries from 1990 to 2016 to uncover the patterns and characteristics of past diplomatic visits and measure their impact on interstate economic relations. The results from the analyses show that Korea’s visit diplomacy has a positive impact on exports by Korean companies, which may be attributed to the Korean government’s efforts to boost exports to meet voter demands, given the high export dependency of the Korean economy. Additionally, this study finds that diplomatic visits result in increased bilateral aid from Korea to the developing country involved. This may be because diplomatic visits offer developing countries with the opportunities to directly communicate with Korean leaders, express their needs for assistance, and establish a rapport. This study contributes to the research on diplomatic visits by making the first systematic effort to use “Korean diplomatic visit” data to conduct a detailed examination of the trends and effects of South Korean visit diplomacy on interstate economic relations.

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