My overarching research goal is to contribute simultaneously to academic literature and policy debates. While my regional area of expertise is East Asia, I see it important to convey evidence from this region to a broader academic audience as well as to expand my substantive and methodological knowledge beyond this comfort zone. For example, my analysis of Nigerian email scams combines content analysis of a half-million scam letters with an original experimental web survey on perceptions of the scam. Furthermore, I seek opportunities for collaborative work and actively encourage undergraduate students to conduct original research through internal and external grant opportunities.
My main research agenda focuses on the electoral politics of East Asian democracies (Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan), with particular attention to the effects of the mixed-member system for legislative elections. My research in this area addresses to what extent the electoral rules shape factors such as district competition, legislator perceptions and behavior (e.g. roll call voting), voting behavior, and perceptions of the electoral system itself. My work on mixed systems has expanded not only to broad cross-national analyses, but also single-country studies of Mexico, Germany, and especially Lesotho. My recent work has connected to evidence from mixed member systems in East Asia to broader issues of coattail voting, support for same-sex marriage, and strategic voting.
In addition, I have published quantitative and qualitative works on North Korea. A series of publications employ computer assisted content analysis to fifteen years (1997-2012) of daily English language news reports from the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). 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. I have also analyzed Chinese-investment in North Korea.
My broader interests in East Asia focus on the foreign policies of Taiwan and China. In particular, I compiled an original dataset on diplomatic recognition of Taiwan through 2008, the first quantitative study on why a country would recognize Taiwan over China. I intend to expand this to include not only recent years, but the influences of economic factors such as bilateral trade and aid packages from Taiwan and China. More broadly I have conducted collaborative works on China-Africa and Taiwan-Africa relations.