Working Papers

Regime Complexity and Overlapping Information: The Case of Energy Projections

(Dissertation Chapter)

One of the critical functions of international organizations (IO) is to provide information. However, instead of always conveying all the information they have, IOs strategically select which information to provide. How does existence of competitors, a common factor under overlapping institutions today, affect IO’s function to provide information? While the literature has debated whether overlapping institutions encourage or hinder better rule-making and compliance, this paper looks at a less-studied aspect of this consequence: IO’s role as an information provider. I first develop a model to argue that entries of additional IOs help motivate the incumbent IOs to reveal more information when the information is verifiable type. Yet the model predicts that there are also cases where overlapping institutions hinder information transmission – for less verifiable types of information, entries of new IOs may not encourage incumbent IOs to convey full information as they foster competition over support from domestic actors. I illustrate this with a case of overlapping institutions providing energy projections, such as the International Energy Agency (IEA), using text and numeric data of energy outlooks and policy papers they published. Moreover, through an analysis of U.S. governmental documents citing the IEA and other energy organizations, I show that, upon entries of competing IOs, the context in which incumbent IO’s information is cited became even more biased toward those on conventional energy. This supports the mechanism that domestic actors shape the incentives these IOs hold over their information provision.

Why Trade and FDI Should Be Studied Together (paper)

(with In Song Kim and Steven Liao)

Global value chains have knit trade and foreign direct investment (FDI) together as firms' engagement in one activity inextricably depends on the other. Yet, most IPE scholarship fails to consider the two simultaneously. We offer an integrated theory that explains why trade’s distributional consequences depend on firms' strategic decisions about FDI. Combining customs data on Vietnamese firms' exports and imports with FDI data on MNCs' greenfield projects in Vietnam since 2003, we find that FDI substantially altered Vietnam’s subsequent trade profiles. Compared to similar products, Vietnamese exports (imports) of products related to FDI increased by 100% (40%) within four years of initial investments. We also find that these products enjoyed deeper tariff cuts in the recent bilateral trade agreement between Vietnam and South Korea. These findings suggest that multinational firms not only affect the composition of trade but also create new political cleavages in trade politics that go beyond country borders.

How Bureaucratic Networks Shape Market Access: The Effect of Revolving Door Connections on FDI and Trade of Japanese Firms

(with Diana Stanescu)

How do firms address difficulties in doing business abroad and make foreign direct investment (FDI) decisions? Research on the politics of FDI highlights that host government characteristics affect firms’ decisions to invest abroad. In this paper, we argue that ties with the home government also plays a crucial role in firms' FDI strategies. In particular, we argue that home state – business relations shaped by revolving-door dynamics encourage firms’ activities abroad via two mechanisms. First, they bring access to information and resources that help them navigate through bureaucratic regulatory procedures abroad. Second, home bureaucrats help firms build connections with the host government that give them a better sense of protection against future expropriation risks. We test this theory using micro-level data from Japan—a country that, in 2009, passed civil service reforms that mandate public reporting of re-employment of all retired civil servants. We take advantage of these changes to retrieve the full network of bureaucratic-firm connections for the period 2009-2020. We combine this novel dataset on Japanese firms’ revolving-door employment with firm-level data on firms’ characteristics, subsidiaries, and investment activities for a sample of 7,000 Japanese parent firms and 25,000 of their foreign subsidiaries. We find that firms with more bureaucratic ties engage more in FDI.

Works in Progress

Multinationals’ Influence In the Private Regime: International Standardization (Dissertation Chapter)

Voting and Communicating on Trade: How Local Trade Shocks Influence Legislators' Positions (with Xuancheng Qian)