Research

This page provides a brief overview of the research projects in which I am currently involved as either the primary investigator or research collaborator.

  1. Book Project: Koreanness Under Democracy: Why Institutions Matter for National Identity and Belonging

  2. Unification in Action? North Korean Defector-Migrant Integration and Support Expansion

  3. Who Stays and Who Leaves? Determinants of Public Support for Permanent Residency, Citizenship, and Rights Expansion in South Korea and Japan

  4. Information Dissemination in North Korea: The Role of Social Networks, Markets, and Social Change

  5. The National Scale-ups Project: Exploring the Landscape of High-Performing Firms

1. Book Project: Koreanness Under Democracy: Why Institutions Matter for National Identity and Belonging

  • Project Participants: Steven Denney (University of Vienna)

  • Project Summary: What is the relationship between political system change and preferences for national membership and belonging? Existing research suggests that preferences and institutions align, and cross-national work finds that citizens in democracies have national identities which are more open and inclusive than those in authoritarian countries. But what about citizens in newer democracies with authoritarian and ethnocultural legacies? Does democratization lead to new and inclusive attitudes towards national membership and belonging, as theory suggests? Do the identities forged under autocratic regimes change, or are they resilient over time? The existing research offers no clear answers to these questions. Using cross-sectional data on South Korean national identity over two decades with support from new survey experiments, this project considers whether Koreans who were socialized under authoritarian political conditions have national identities different from those who came of age under democracy. Further, based on survey and interview data with co-ethnic migrant returnees, this research leverages a natural experiment in institutional divergence to explore the effects of coming of age under authoritarianism and exposure to democratic institutions on national identity preferences.

2. Unification in Action? North Korean Defector-Migrant Integration and Support Expansion

  • Project Participants: Steven Denney (University of Vienna) and Christopher Green (Leiden University).

  • Project Summary: Are North Korean defector-migrants fully integrating into South Korean society? Despite a shared ethnic and cultural background, a right to citizenship, and generous resettlement benefits and other forms of support, many of these migrants struggle to find their place in their new host society. Using survey experiments (ratings-based and forced-choiced conjoints) supported by open-text questions, this research seeks to identify the determinants of integration into the national community along political, economic, and social dimensions. It also explores what motivates expansion of specific support, in the form of greater resources dedicated for defector-migrant entrepreneurs.

  • Outputs –

    Reports:

    2022. “Improving North Korean Defector Integration in South Korea: Survey Findings and Recommendations,” with Christopher Green. 38 North, May.

  • Funding: This project is supported by an Academy of Korean Studies competitive research grant (2021-2022).


3. Who Stays and Who Leaves? Determinants of Public Support for Permanent Residency, Citizenship, and Rights Expansion in South Korea and Japan

  • Project Participants: Steven Denney (University of Vienna), Charles Crabtree (Dartmouth University), Nicholas Fraser (University of California, Berkeley), and Peter Ward (University of Vienna).

  • Project Summary: This study seeks to understand what shapes public attitudes toward immigrants and immigration policies in South Korea and Japan. It approaches the question in two ways. First, it examines the integration of (im)migrants. Drawing broadly from the literature in migration and citizenship, we ask whether native South Koreans and Japanese are supportive of the permanent resettlement and eventual naturalization of current immigrants. In addition to direct questions, we also explore what types of immigrants these populations would accept as permanent residents and eventual citizens using a survey experiments that presents a hypothetical pilot resettlement program. We specifically explore to what degree civic legacies influence public opinion pertaining to integration policies.

    Second, this project looks at what determines support for the expansion of immigrants’ rights. Elite politics and public attitudes literatures have yet to be reconciled on this question. Using a series of conjoint and endorsement experiments, we explore whether natives support the expansion of immigrants’ rights.

  • Outputs –

    Presentations:

    2021. “Who Stays and Who leaves? Determinants of Public Support for Permanent Residency and Citizenship in South Korea and Japan,” American Political Science Association Conference, September 30-October 3.


4. Information Dissemination in North Korea: The Role of Social Networks, Markets, and Social Change


5. The National Scale-Ups Project: Exploring the Landscape of High-Performing Firms

  • Project Participants: Steven Denney (University of Toronto), Viet Vu (Ryerson University), Ryan Kelly (Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada), and David Wolfe (University of Toronto).

  • Project Summary: Research in entrepreneurship receives much scholarly and public policy attention, as businesses form an integral part of our economy. In the last two decades, research in entrepreneurship has focused on the role of young and/or high-growth firms — what many call “scale-ups” (or high-growth firms). The interest in scale-ups stem from the promise such firms hold in fulfilling several key policy objectives, including employment gains, technological innovation, and economic competitiveness. It is often understood, in Canada and elsewhere, that with the right mix of policy support and a dash of serendipity, governments can spur the creation of companies that contribute to the country’s employment growth, support innovation, and ensure the country’s global competitiveness for years to come. For many, scale-ups are seen as the guarantors of national prosperity.

    Despite the interest in scale-ups, discourse on the subject often lacks even definitional clarity. What is a scale-up, and how do we define it? Does it matter which growth metric is used, and does it change how we identify and describe scale-up activity? The literature on the subject is not without answers to these questions, but they often are scattered across studies rather than brought together for purposes of comparison. Without a clearer understanding of basic questions like these, it is difficult to know how, or even whether, scale-ups of different types can achieve the key policy objectives identified above. The problem, in Canada at least, is the lack of a comprehensive framework and good data for understanding these firms.

    This project fills a substantive knowledge and data gap using administrative microfiles (the NALMF dataset) linked to detailed financial data through Statistic Canada’s Business Registry (BR) and other datasets, including the Exporter Registry and PATSTAT (for patents). Through descriptive and economic analysis, this project explores the significance of different scale-up definitions and then evaluates their economic impact across various metrics, including employment, revenue, and innovation. Using survey data, namely that from the Survey of Finance and Growth of Small and Medium Enterprises, the project also considers unique barriers faced by scale-ups and barriers to scale.

  • Outputs

    Academic Papers:

    2021. “The Innovation Policy Preferences of Canadian Scale-up Firms,” with Travis Southin and David Wolfe. [revising]

    Reports:

    2021. “Into the Scale-up-verse: Exploring the Landscape of Canada’s High Performing Firms,” with Viet Vu and Ryan Kelly. Innovation Policy Lab and Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, December.

    2021. “Great Canadian Survey of 2021: Insights for the Council of Canadian Innovators“, with Viet Vu. Innovation Policy Lab and Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, July.

    2021. “Just Out of Reach: The Elusive Quest to Measure the Digital Economy“, with Viet Vu. Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, June.

    2021. “Scale the Gap: The Impact of Growth Barriers on Women Entrepreneurs in Canadian High-Growth Firms“, with Viet Vu. Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, April.

    2019. “Firm Size and Payroll Adjustment: Exploring the Behaviour of Technology Firms During COVID-19.” Innovation Policy Lab Research Report, 2020-03, April.

    2019. “The COVID-19 Crisis and Policy Preferences of Canadian Technology Scale-ups,” with Viet Vu. Innovation Policy Lab Research Report, 2020-02, March.

    Media:

    2021. “Scale-ups drive productivity growth and R&D spending in Canada, study finds,” The Logic, December.

    Presentations:

    2020. “Scale the Gap: Impact of Growth Barriers on Women Entrepreneurs in Canadian High-Growth Firms,” Canadian Council for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (CCSBE) Annual Conference, October 16-17.

  • Funding: This project is supported primarily by a Mitacs Accelerate grant (2019-2021) and funding managed through the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship.