Work in Progress

The `Protectiveness' of Employment Protection Legislation

Similar to labor markets in France, Spain and Japan, salary workers in South Korea are largely divided into the informal and formal sectors. Formal workers benefit from permanent contracts with insurance coverage and non-salary compensation, whereas workers with informal status have non-permanent contracts ranging from days to years and are mostly not entitled to benefits. In 2007 the Korean government implemented employment protection legislation (EPL) to improve the working conditions of informal workers, but the effectiveness of the EPL has not been sufficiently assessed. This paper applies an optimal three-state on-the-job sequential search model to estimate the transition rates of workers in informal positions to quantify the effect of the 2007 EPL on worker transitions from informal to formal work.

Deaths of Despair in the U.S. and Relative Income

Over the last three decades, the United States has witnessed increased death from suicide, alcohol poisoning, and drug addiction among its less-educated, non-Hispanic white population. Prior research has called this phenomenon “deaths of despair”, pointing to a diverse set of possible underlying causes from economic insecurity to trade shocks. I investigate one of these possible explanations: the relative decreased income of non-Hispanic white men compared to their peers both inside and outside the household. First, I compare changes in income across racial groups by age to account for any changes in non-Hispanic white males’ racial relative income between 2006 to 2016. I also analyze changes in their income relative to household income in order to study their within-household status during the same period. Using data at the constant public-use microdata area (CPUMA) and county level, I find that younger non-Hispanic white male population are more impacted by relative income compared to the older population. A decrease in racial and familial relative income increases deaths of despair among 25-44 year old white male Americans. Results for the older 45-64 year old population indicate that comparing income among themselves and their peers do not drive deaths of despair. Despair of older non-Hispanic white male Americans are more positively impacted by having better familial and regional economic support.

Past Work

The Patterns of Korea's Foreign Direct Investment in Vietnam (coauthored with Professor Jai Sheen Mah)

The Vietnamese economy has shown very rapid economic growth since Doi Moi, with a huge amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows. Among them, Korea’s outward FDI (OFDI) in Vietnam deserves more attention as the leading investor. This paper reveals the patterns of Korea’s OFDI in Vietnam. The pre-eminence of Korean FDI in Vietnam was the consequence of multiple events, including the coinciding efforts of both governments to promote FDI and Vietnam’s provision of an alternative to China in the manufacturing sector. Korean firms have contributed to economic growth, employment generation and technology transfers in Vietnam. Vietnam can enhance the FDI inflows by overcoming the remaining instabilities in its economy, strengthening the level of human capital and sustaining its investor-friendly policies.