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Doctoral StudentComparative Politics
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Su-Hyun Lee received her PhD in Political Science from the University of Michigan in December 2012. Currently, she is working as a research associate for the Constituency-Level Elections Archive Project at the Center for Political Studies. Her research interests lie in comparative and international political economy, including international trade, globalization, development, and (re)distributive politics. She is mainly interested in understanding the interactions between economic liberalization, domestic politics, and public policymaking around the world.
In her dissertation, Su-Hyun explores the political and economic determinants of the structure of trade protection in democracies. Contrary to previous research that has mainly focused on collective lobbying efforts of interest groups, she examines the ways in which constituent preferences for trade openness and the incentives of political parties to optimize their electoral prospects interactively influence the distribution of protectionist rents across the electorate. Her dissertation generates two key findings. First, using sectoral data on tariff and nontariff protection and district-level election outcomes in the United States from 1989 to 2004, she finds that industries geographically concentrated in electorally marginal constituencies are more likely to receive higher levels of protection than those in safe constituencies and that marginality also increases the responsiveness of public officials to protectionist demands in setting trade policies. Second, relying on national and sub-national data on protectionist measures, political institutions, and macroeconomic outcomes, she demonstrates that the extent to which electoral institutions moderate the rent-seeking behavior of individual legislators explains variation in the skill-bias in trade policy across democracies.
Her other research projects have focused on congressional voting on trade bills, the allocation of government transfers in India (with Allen Hicken), the political and economic origins of regionalism in Korea, and the relationship between globalization and labor rights in developing countries.
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