I am a political economist specializing in U.S. foreign economic policymaking on export-oriented countries of Northeast Asia – China, Japan and South Korea. I work on trade, energy, and tech conflicts with a broader range of regional focuses not just on the U.S. and East Asia, but also Europe and the Middle East. I also conduct policy-oriented research on the two Koreas. My grand theme of research is why countries fight and how, using what. I study why countries have different policy outcomes by analyzing governance structures – domestic institutions, leaderships, and bureaucracies that shape the policy formation process.

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I am a 2021-2022 Fung Global Fellow (Early-Career Scholar Track) at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies at Princeton University. Under COVID-19 restrictions, I conducted research in Seoul in Fall 2021 and relocated to Princeton in Spring 2022. At Princeton, I am investigating the varied levels of country access to vaccines and the governance of vaccine procurement, alongside data deployment in vaccination processes across jurisdictions, with a specific case study on U.S.-South Korea vaccine production and research collaboration.

I am very interested in how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are implemented in different jurisdictions in the post-pandemic era. I am taking part in a government research project on the cross-country analysis of the U.S., UK, Canada, Sweden and South Korea on the legalization of AI deployment for the handicapped – based on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons for Disabilities (CRPD, and the optional protocol) – for the National Human Rights Commission of Korea.

Concurrently, as a Visiting Scholar at the Digital Trade and Data Governance Hub of the Elliot School of International Affairs at the George Washington University (GWU) I am working with Professor Susan Aaronson on comparative analysis of data governance Europe, the U.S. and East Asia – mainly China, South Korea and Japan, while also serving as a Korea Foundation Fellow at the Salzburg Global Seminar focusing on data governance, technology and digital currencies in the post-pandemic era. 

My first book manuscript, DIGITAL TRADE WARS & CURRENCY CONFLICT: China, South Korea and Japan’s Responses to U.S. Protectionism since COVID-19, has been enriched by the Next Generation Researcher Grant of the National Research Foundation of Korea and is currently under review by two reputable university presses. Using a framework of institutional variance, my book manuscript attempts to answer why the three East Asian economies display different policy responses upon encountering U.S. protectionism under COVID-19, focusing on the cases of semiconductors, data transfers, and digital currencies, and provides a mechanism for predicting their policy moves in digital transformation. The book project is being finalized under the Academic Book Publication Program at the Research Information Service of the National Library of Korea, where I also serve as member of the foreign reserves acquisition recommendation committee.

My second book project, EUROPE’s CHALLENGES & RESPONSES: Between Faustian Bargains with China and U.S. Pressures since Brexit, also utilizes the framework of institutional variance but moves the stage to Europe and broadens the scope to pressures from two great powers: China and the U.S. In culmination of my work on trade, energy, and tech wars, the project examines each of the policy responses from Germany, France, Italy and the UK post-Brexit to China and the U.S. on specific issues of the aforementioned three policy realms in the era of geoeconomic conflict between the two countries. This project is for submission to the European Research Council for the ERC Starting Grant in April 2022 with the anticipated 5-year project timeline of 2023-2028, with the Brussels School of Governance at Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) as the host institution.

Outside academia, I advise public and private sectors with analyses at global, regional, and domestic levels. I provide expert commentary to various international media outlets and contribute my analysis to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the research and analysis division of Economist Group. I also serve as an expert for global consulting firms Duco and Enquire. I am concurrently a Korea Foundation Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar, a Nonresident Fellow at the National Bureau of Asian Research, and a member of the Democracy in Asia Project of the Foreign Policy Program of the Brookings Institution. I am also the inaugural Asia cohort of the International Strategy Forum (ISF-Asia) by Schmidt Futures in 2022.

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