My major research interests include the followings:
• Long-Term Analysis: Global Challenges, the Great Rebalancing of Power, and Global Governance
• Domestic Political Positions toward the G20 process and global economic governance
• Impact of globalization on domestic politics (policy decisions, structural reforms, democratic governance)
• Japanese domestic politics and Japanese political economy
• China and global governance, China and globalization (interactions with global political economy)
• The East Asian miracle and the East Asian crisis (focus on Korea)
• European political economy (EU level, France and Germany)
• The politics of GMOs (genetically-modified organisms), particularly in Japan and Europe
• Climate change politics
For a brief description of the current research, please click the above tabbed panel.
Rising Powers, Deliberative Representation, and Global Governance: China’s Management of Globalization in a Comparative Context
(SSHRC project 2008)
China’s emerging management of globalization sits at the nexus of the two most fundamental debates of global political economy. At a time of a major deadlock in international trade negotiations and a global financial meltdown, the future of the global economy is plagued by uncertainties about the necessary underlying structure of global governance. We have reached a time of paradigm shift when both the norms and the institutions that have sustained global economic forces for fifty years are running out of steam and in need of a major upgrade. At the same time, we have entered a period of hegemonic transition that is marked by the rise of the China (and to a secondary degree other key powers such as India, Brazil, the European Union, and Russia). As of August 2008, China has accumulated over $1.8 trillion of foreign reserves and has become the linchpin of global financial stability in the midst of global crisis. Increasingly, it is becoming clear that China holds important keys to the necessary reforms of global governance, in partnership with the US, the EU, Japan, and India.
My research for the next three years focuses on the role played by China in several dimensions of global governance. In the context of large uncertainties around globalization and a shifting global balance of power, what explains the positions of rising powers with respect to global governance? Under what conditions, do they choose to go along with the hegemon, protect themselves, seek multilateral alternatives, or offer an alternative global path? Interestingly, China has de facto followed all four options. On the 2002 WTO agreement, the management of its currency reserves, or the gradual embrace of privatization, China has chosen to bandwagon with the US agenda. On the management of its capital account, energy policy, food policy, or Internet governance, China is stonewalling. With respect to novel issues of global governance such as biosafety (biotechnology) or biodiversity, China is seeking a multilateral alternative. Finally, with respect to development norms, national champions, or sovereign wealth funds for strategic purposes, China is developing an innovative alternative global footprint.
The research proposed here aims at bridging the large divide between international political economy, studies of Japanese and European roles in global governance, and Chinese political economy. It will develop a model to explain the choices made by China with respect to global governance. This proposal builds upon my work on global governance, corporate governance, and biotechnology regulation at the global level and in Japan and Europe, as well as on field research done in China in 2008 on biotechnology. It hypothesizes that China’s behavior is related to the degree of inclusiveness and participation of domestic actors in each particular issue. In issue-areas where there is a high degree of experimentation in deliberative participation, Chinese behavior is more likely to espouse multilateralism, while alternative leadership arises in areas of intellectual and grassroots involvement.
This research program utilizes process-tracing of Chinese governance initiatives in currency management & sovereign wealth funds, biosafety, and the so-called Beijing consensus. Secondary comparisons will be made with Japanese and EU initiatives on the same issue areas. It will lead to major articles and a book on China’s management of globalization. Given the policy and theoretical stakes involved, there will be considerable interest in its results among scholars of international political economy, China, and global environmental policy, as well as among policy practitioners in government, nongovernmental organizations, and the general public in Canada. The project will also serve as an anchor for teaching, given the enthusiastic interest exhibited by students in the problematique of this research.
For the detail of this research, please click here.
Globalization, Inequality, and Political Realignment:
The Emerging Clash Between Structural Reforms and Rising Inequalities in Japan
(Hampton project 2008)
In its landmark 1993 report funded by the Japanese government, the World Bank argued that Japan and seven other high performance Asian economies (HPAEs) had managed a hitherto impossible formula: high speed growth with equity. For example, a representative survey by Milanovic and Yitzhaki (2002) find that Japan had the lowest Gini cofficient in Asia (24.3), the lowest in the world.
Over the last decade, this picture suddenly changed. By the spring of 2006, a furious debate raged among academics, in the media, and on the floor of the Diet over the issue of rising inequalities and the emergence of an unequal society (fubyoudou shakai). At its most aggregate level, the Gini coefficient based on the national survey of household incomes reached 30 in 2003. In 2006, politicians began to scramble for explanations and policy responses, as the political legitimacy of the regime centered on the Liberal Democratic Party began to be affected. This period has correlated with an unprecedented defeat of the LDP in July 2007 and with a period of political instability and transition.
This research project asks three related questions: How much is inequality really rising in Japan? What are the economic and political causes behind the trend? And, what are the emerging political consequences?
On the first two preliminary questions, I plan to continue collecting existing data in the literature and from the government in Japan, as well as work in collaboration with economist Sebastien Lechevalier, based at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, France (an expert on inequality in Japan). The larger part of my work will focus on the third and hitherto unexplored third political question: mapping out and theorizing the mechanisms between changing level of equality and party and regime change. In doing so, I will collect both existing opinion survey data on inequality and governance; as well as pursue about 30-40 qualitative interviews with politicians, government officials, labor union leaders, and selected opinion leaders.
HYPOTHESIS/ ANTICIPATED OUTCOME:
Critical Juncture and Political Transition.
On the second question, the working hypothesis of this project is that the intensification of systemic corporate restructuring since 1997 and accompanying transformation of the labor system have been the key driving force.
On the political side, the paper argues that entrepreneurial reform processes in response to global incentives have played a major role in facilitating structural reforms. In turn, the emerging backlash against inequality is leading to a possible political transition that may see the rise of a new party or coalition of actors in defense of the vanishing middle class.
I expect several major articles out of this novel project and a follow up SSHRC application on the links between globalization, inequality, and political change in advanced democracies.
For the detail of this research, please click here.
The Governance of Global Finance after the 2008 Mayhem
The proximate causes of the current global financial crisis are understood: real estate bubble and equity bubbles, weak regulations of mortgage and security markets, and failure of rating agencies and other firewalls. But beyond these proximate causes, the critical root cause is the weak international coordination in the governance of global finance in the wake of poorly institutionalized financial deregulation. In the current context where the major powers are groping for a new regulatory compromise (especially at the G20), Canada can find itself uniquely positioned as a balancer between the positions pursued by other great powers.
The current global financial has become a historical watershed event. It is increasingly clear that understanding, preventing, and solving a crisis of this magnitude requires novel thinking and novel approaches. Why didn’t we anticipate the crisis better? Why did the interface between non-bank financing (deregulated finance) and regulated banks fail so dramatically (except in Canada to some degree)? Why is the financial crisis ballooning so quickly into a global economic crisis and a global crisis of confidence in the very institutional foundations of the global economy? As states around the most advanced G7 countries are beginning to nationalize banks, the crisis is challenging our assumptions on the best practices regarding the role of the state in the economy.
The work proposed here will test several key ideas, explore them further, and develop a view of what happened and where to go from here at the global and Canadian levels.
Solving the crisis and preventing future occurrences is not just a matter of economics (the economic mechanisms of the crisis of the crisis are increasingly well understood), but a matter of governance and international coordination.
Today, halting the crisis and preventing a future occurrence involve
a) rebuilding trust in global financial regulations;
b) coordinating macro-economic policies to avoid sub-optimal beggar-thy-neighbour policies;
c) identifying and diffusing best practices in bank regulations; and
d) coordinating trade policies and containing protectionist feelings in several key countries.
All these key tasks involve coordination among the large players, principally the US, the EU, China, Japan, India, and Canada. The upcoming G20 summits are critical in that regard.
The crisis has proved more difficult to manage than expected because it is occurring at a critical juncture of global power transition (rise of China, multipolarization).
In the early phase of the crisis, the European Union has emerged as the most innovative actor, pushing both for novel solutions such as direct bank capital injections and for new global regulations (“a new Bretton Woods System”). It is China, however, that holds the strongest cards. In theFall of 2008, China surged ahead of Japan to become the top foreign holder of US Treasuries (reaching $652 Billion at the end of October) and has been purchasing a disproportionate share of the new debt issued by the US treasury in the context of its bank bailouts. There are increasing calls for a grand bargain between the US and China over global macro-economic management and global regulations. At the same time, it is clear that the EU will continue to carry a disproportionate voice at the G20 (thanks to its 5 institutional voices with possible addition of Spain) and Japan remains a considerable financial presence. Yet, we have little good understanding of what drives the behaviour of these key players and how an equilibrium point on global governance may be reached. Canada possibly occupies a strategic position between these players, owing to its stronger financial system, good governance, and good relations with key players.
OBJECTIVES OF THE PROPOSED RESEARCH:
This research targets three main questions and will aim at producing three analytical papers (one on each question). The following year, I plan to submit a widely readable book manuscript that will integrate the key components of this research.
The Resurgent Role of the State; what are the different practices used by key countries with respect to bank regulations (from hitherto unthinkable nationalization to capital injections and conditional bailout packages)? What explains the variations in outcomes? What policy lessons are emerging for Canada in terms of the new panoply of acceptable best practices?
The Emerging Global Financial Governance and the G20: what are the strengths and weaknesses, domestic coalitions, and strategies pursued by the key players: the US, China Japan, the EU (and to some extent, India and Brazil)? How can Canada’s position at the G20 and beyond be leveraged for maximum influence?
Rising Patterns of Economic Nationalism in Trade and Financial Regulations. When are key countries resorting to various forms of economic nationalism, how can it be mitigated, and what are the emerging global consequences? What is the impact on Canada and how can Canada minimize its exposure?
WHAT WILL BE ACHIEVED:
During the 12 months covered in this proposal, owing to the leverage of my sabbatical year at UBC de facto after April 2010 and to various established links as visiting scholar, I plan to achieve the following:
meetings and interviews with key policy-makers and actors in Canada, the US, Japan, China, and the EU; I plan to include discussions with key public intellectuals in China, Japan, and EU, with government officials in several ministries involved (as I did in past projects), with business leaders in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, New York, Boston area, San Fransicso area, but also Tokyo, Beijing, Shenzhen/Hong Kong, Paris, and London; and politicians wherever possible (easiest access in Japan, Europe, and Canada)
presentations at CIC offices and public presentations/lectures across Canada;
three to four analytical papers, as described above, by the 12th month of fellowship;
Op-Ed pieces in the major Canadian newspapers (in English and French), following past pieces written in the Globe, le Devoir, and other papers.
groundwork for one major academic journal article and one book to be submitted the year after this fellowship
SPECIFIC STRENGTHS OF THIS PROPOSAL:
This proposal on the global financial crisis is unique, due to five key strengths:
Integration of economics and international governance;
Two-level analysis and unique insights into the China, Japan, the EU, and the US: I am well placed to pursue not just global level analysis but to get access to policy-makers and provide in depth understanding of domestic level decision-making in the key global players: China, Japan, Europe, the US, and Canada;
Considerable experience working on the Japanese financial crisis and the Asian crisis and
unique ability to draw comparisons with the current global crisis;
Integration of theory and policy: my background covers both the academic field and business and policy;
Three strong bases for academic/policy outreach: Boston/Harvard where my life-time status as Harvard Academy Scholar gives me access to funding available to put together an event including academics and policy actors at Harvard; Stanford and Silicon Valley, my alma mater, where links with Dan Okimoto and others enable me to join events and engage actively with the policy community there; and Paris/London/Bruxelles where my links to Science Po, LSE (close links to several scholars), and the Bruegel think tank (led by Jean Pisany-Ferry) in Bruxelles where I can co-organize a panel.
Full bilingualism French-English; fluent in Japanese and German; proficient in Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese)
Time and focus: due to my absence of teaching from April 2010 until September 2011, I will be able to give full focus and priority to this CIC project. My career stage (having just gone through the tenure votes at UBC) allows me to focus more on policy outreach.
The research program extends my prior research on financial globalization and domestic politics to a new level. Between 1999 and 2007, I have pursued in depth research on the Japanese financial crisis (and lost decade) and on the Asian financial crisis (main work on Korea). I have spent considerable time in Japan (over 200 interviews, formerly visiting scholar at the Ministry of Finance), in China (research on SOE reforms and interview research in 2008), in Korea (former visiting scholar at Korea University and over 50 interviews), in Europe (over 200 interviews and several stints as visiting scholar), and in some international organizations. I have readily available networks and institutional links in all countries covered in this proposal. My first book, Entrepreneurial States (Cornell University Press, 2007) focused on the responses of several states (Japan, Korea, France, with applications to China’s SOE reforms) to global incentives with respect to corporate governance reforms.
METHODS AND ACTION PLAN:
I expect to have gathered extensive secondary data and have covered the existing literature before the start of the fellowship in March 2010. During the fellowship, using the freedom from my sabbatical year, the bulk of the work will consist of direct interviews with policy-makers and relevant actors in Canada, the US, China, Japan, and Europe, as per the schedule listed below (some of the positions as visiting scholar are already in place). The work in Asia and North America is the priority, with selected research in Europe as a secondary priority. I also plan interactive presentation sessions across Canada, but also at Harvard and Stanford Universities, my alma maters (as well as universities in Japan, China, and Europe). I plan to spend at least a month based in the CIC offices of Ottawa/Toronto to engage actively with the policy community here in Canada, in addition to shorter periods in Montreal, Vancouver, and other offices as CIC sees fit.
AUDIENCE, OUTREACH, MULTIPLIER EFFECTS:
I always engage students, especially graduate students, in my research and will be mobilizing them on project-related topics. By doing this, we will be able to leverage the CIC funds and integrate graduate training and research on this issue of major importance for Canada and the world.
I plan to engage the wider public policy community specifically with several key events: a panel at the Fall Summit (2010) of the APFC, a panel at Harvard University with policy-makers, officials on leave and the wider community; a similar panel at Stanford University, and events organized with CIC in Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal.
LINKS TO CANADIAN FOREIGN POLICY:
Canada is increasingly affected by the global crisis. For Canada, what matters most is understanding and predicting the positions taken by the bigger players and finding the strategic role it can play to maximize its leverage and position in the global context. Canada may play a key bridge role at the G20 between the EU regulatory position, the US, and China. Mapping out this position and proposing feasibility paths will be part of the work of this proposal. As well, it is crucial for Canada to track the emerging practices in terms of national banking regulations and trade.
Global Resistance Against Genetically Modified Organisms:
The Cases of the EU and Japan (Additional study of Canadian contrast case)
Since the mid-1990s, a global political battle has unfolded around one of the most promising industries of the future: biotechnology. While transgenic technology showed great promise and became widely adopted in North America, it also became the target of a global resistance movement including non-governmental organizations (NGOs), key states, and international organizations. The battle plays out along several dimensions-modern technology and human progress, global trade, environmental protection, health, food security, development, democratic deficit, and cultural identity-making it one of the fault lines in globalization. State policy with respect to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) includes both national regulations and support for global standards in international negotiations such as the 2000 Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. Domestic and international regulatory frameworks of countries with respect to GMOs, however, are not always coherent.
My proposed research program for the next three years will focus on the specific roles played by the European Union (EU) and Japan in the competition for global GMO governance. Both of them have taken strict regulatory approaches that undermine their future claims to leadership in this rising technology field. At the same time, the actions of the EU and Japan have diverged at the international level: in contrast to the EU's role as an international regulatory advocate, Japan has appeared incoherent by disconnecting its national approach from its international actions. My research aims at developing a model on the politics of state resistance to globalization at the domestic and international levels. While an emergent literature has focused on EU biotechnology regulations and, to a lesser extent, on international negotiations about GMOs, no study has undertaken a multi-level cross-regional comparative analysis. In particular, GMO politics in Japan have yet to be analyzed.
This research program involves process-tracing of domestic regulations on GMO production and labeling (two in Japan and four in the EU) on the one hand and the role played by Japan and the EU in the Cartagena negotiations and at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on the other. In addition, this research will use the comparative method to contrast political processes and outcomes in Japan and the EU. The framework developed in this study will offer insights for the study of GMO policy in other countries, such as Canada, Mexico, Brazil, China, and India. It will also shed light on other areas of contestations over global standards.
Since two-level comparative study is novel in the field of GMO regulations and resistance to globalization, there will be considerable interest in its results among scholars of international political economy, comparative political economy, Japanese politics, and EU policy-making. The study is also likely to spark significant interest among scholars of public policy and environment in Canada and the US, as well as among policy practitioners in government and nongovernmental organizations.
Canadian, European and Japanese Leadership in Global Institution-Building is an edited book soon to be published.
The project stems from the observation of two important trends in international affairs since the late 1990s. The first trend is an expansion of multilateral institution-building into new arenas. While the post-war period saw the creation of effective global institutions in the field of economic cooperation and development (IMF, World Bank, WTO), security (disarmament treaties), and human rights (beginning with the International Declaration of Human Rights contained in the UN Charter), the 1990s and 2000s have seen the expansion of this trend into the arenas of environment, human security, and human rights and culture. The development of these international institutions includes formal legal treaties, codes of conducts, and norms and practices that shape behavior.
The second trend is a new political pattern in the creation of these institutions. To the surprise of many, as the US decided that institution-building beyond the realms of economy (trade, finance) and hard security (anti-terrorism, non-proliferation) was not in its interest and should be halted, other national and supranational actors joined forces to construct new institutions. This construction continued unabated despite not only US opposition, but despite the reluctance of other powers like the BRIC countries and especially China. In the cockpit driving the continued trend, one can find what we call “Minervian powers”; in particular, an emergent European Union aiming to project a new common identity, a transforming Japan, and a Canada forcefully dedicated to multilateralism. Under the label of Minervian powers, we refer to a group of advanced industrial democracies with significant economic and military clout, yet also a strong commitment to multilateralism and norm construction. With this conceptualization we go beyond Kagan (2003)’s dichotomy (“Europeans are from Venus, Americans are from Mars”). Minerva represents a group of like-minded states that support the creation of credible and binding institutions, possibly backed by a limited but creative use of force