I have interest broadly in International Security, Civil War, Political Psychology, International Development, and East Asian Politics.
My primary research project, “Do Costly Signals Matter? Unifying Theories of Signaling and Perceptions in International Relations,” focuses on signaling and the perceptions of signals between states in the international system. The goal of this project is to develop a unified theory of signaling and perception by drawing on insights both from rationalist theories of international politics and cognitive psychology. This research attempts to incorporate a subjective dimension of interpreting states’ behaviors, which has been relatively ignored by the standard rationalist notion of the logic of costly signals. I test my arguments through a series of survey experiments and case studies of Americans’ perceptions toward China. I aim to publish my research in political science journals such as International Organization and International Security by the end of this year.
In addition to my primary research, I am also currently engaged in other lines of research in international development, civil war, and foreign policy decision making. One of my papers, “Natural Disasters, Foreign Aid, and Civil War” examines the relationship between environmental shocks, foreign aid, and civil war. It contributes to determining the causal mechanisms through which natural disasters affect the risk of civil war. After an examination of longitudinal data of over one hundred countries during the period 1971 to 2011, I argue that resource scarcity caused by an environmental shock increases the risk of civil war, and that foreign aid reduces the risk of civil war by helping address the problem of resource scarcity.
In addition, a co-authored paper with my colleague Daisuke Minami, “The Bureaucratic Politics of Norm Diffusion: Power, Frame Resonance, and Foreign Policy Decisions,” examines how bureaucratic politics contribute to the spread of international norms in international society and shape states’ behaviors. Using South Korea’s decision to join the OECD Development Assistance Committee, this work complements the existing norm diffusion literature, which has tended to focus on diplomatic socialization by international organizations and transnational activist networks at a macro-level, failing to theorize the domestic processes of norm promotion at the micro-level.