This page provides a brief overview of the research projects in which I am currently involved as either the primary investigator or research collaborator. Overall, these projects address a range of topics, from the effects of political system change on national identity to the integration of immigrants and the growth of high-performing firms. These projects represent a diverse range of research interests and approaches, and each project seeks to contribute new insights to our understanding of important social and economic phenomena.
Nationalism and Democracy: Why Institutions Matter for National Identity and Belonging
This project, which consists of a solo-authored book manuscript and co-authored research articles, focuses on the relationship between political system change and preferences for national membership and belonging. Existing research suggests that preferences and institutions align and that citizens in democracies have national identities that are more open and inclusive than those in authoritarian countries, but it remains unclear how democratization affects national identity in newer democracies with authoritarian and ethnocultural legacies. Are the identities forged under autocratic regimes resilient over time, or do they change? Can democratization lead to new and inclusive attitudes towards national membership and belonging, as theory suggests? To answer these questions, the project utilizes cross-sectional data on national identity collected over several decades in South Korea, Germany, and Taiwan, supplemented by new survey experiments and other data sources.
The research contributes to our understanding of the effects of political system change on national membership, including national identity preferences and attitudes toward immigration. It also provides important insights into the challenges facing democracies with authoritarian and ethnocultural legacies for integrating diverse newcomers. Ultimately, this research can help inform policies and programs to promote more inclusive and cohesive societies for newly diverse and transitioning societies.
This research is supported by the Academy of Korean Studies under Grant AKS-2023-R018.
Koreanness Under Democracy: Why Institutions Matter for National Identity and Belonging [in progress]
“Why Do Democratic Societies Tolerate Undemocratic Laws? Sorting Public Support for the National Security Act in South Korea,” with Christopher Green. [under review]
“Nationalism After Autocracy: The Relationship Between System Change and National Identity in New Democracies.” [in progress]
“Variations in Nation-Building: Sorting National History Education in South Korea and Poland”, with Myunghee Lee. [in progress]
“Size or Speed? Public Attitudes toward Rising Immigration Levels in Historically Homogeneous Nations,” with John W. Cheng, Michael J. Donnelly, and Nicholas A. R. Fraser. [in progress]
2023. “Why Do Democratic Societies Tolerate Undemocratic Laws? Sorting Public Support for the National Security Act in South Korea,” International Studies Association (ISA) Conference, March 15-18.
2022. “National Security Conservatism: Enduring Support for the National Security Act in South Korea,” Generation Asia – 2022 Nordic NIAS Council Conference, August 22-26.
Unification in Action? North Korean Migrant Integration and Support Expansion
This project, a collaboration with Christopher Green (Leiden University) and Peter Ward (Kookimin University), investigates public attitudes and public policies regarding migrant entrepreneurship and integration.
Leveraging the case of North Korean migrant resettlement and integration in South Korea, otherwise known as ‘unification in action’, this research explores natives’ preferences for the economic, political, and social integration of co-ethnic migrants. Furthermore, it examines how the structure of government support for migrant entrepreneurship policies affects public attitudes toward business support expansion. Additionally, the research considers the trade-offs between different policy options for unification between North and South Korea. The study’s findings have implications for integration and resettlement policy in South Korea and contribute to the broader migration and citizenship literature.
This research is supported by the Academy of Korean Studies under Grant AKS-2021-R-083.
“Public Attitudes Towards Co-Ethnic Migrant Integration: Evidence from South Korea,” with Christopher Green. [under review]
“Public Support for Migrant Entrepreneurship: The Case of North Koreans in the Republic of Korea,” with Peter Ward and Christopher Green. [under review]
“한국인의 남북통일방식에 대한 의식 결정요인 분석: 컨조인트 분석 조사를 중심으로” [Analyzing the Determinants of South Korea Attitudes Toward Korean Unification: A Conjoint Analysis], with Peter Ward and Christopher Green [in kr]. [under review]
2023. “Because It Is Good for South Korea: Public Support for Defector Entrepreneurship,” with Christopher Green. 38 North, January.
2022. “Improving North Korean Defector Integration in South Korea: Survey Findings and Recommendations,” with Christopher Green. 38 North, May.
2022. “한국인의 남북통일방식에 대한 의식식 결정요인 분석: 컨조인트 분석 조사를 중심으로” [Analysis of South Korean Attitudes Towards Unification: A Conjoint Experiment ], 북한연구학회 [North Korean Research Institute], Seoul, South Korea, December 12.
2022. “Determinants of Co-Ethnic Integration in South Korea: A Conjoint Experiment,” East Asian Network (EAN), Institute for Asian Studies, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic, February 8.
Information Dissemination in North Korea: The Role of Social Networks, Markets, and Social Change
In collaboration with the NGO Woorion and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), this project seeks to identify the determinants of non-state information dissemination within North Korean society and how these information flows can be promoted. More broadly, the research contributes to political control in authoritarian systems literature.
In North Korea, the state’s monopoly on information was shattered during the famine of the 1990s. Some North Koreans have since become regular consumers of foreign media, including South Korean and US media, including TV shows and current affairs content. But what kind of information do they consume and disseminate, and why? To answer this question, we explore the use and circulation of illicit foreign information among citizens in North Korea using experimental and observation survey questions supported by qualitative insights.
This research is supported by a National Endowment for Democracy research grant (2019-2021).
2023. “How Autocracies Disrupt Unsanctioned Information Flows: The Role of State Power and Social Capital in North Korea,” with Peter Ward, Problems of Post-Communism.
2022. “Information Dissemination in North Korea: A Report for NGOs,” with Peter Ward. Report for the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), January.
Determinants of Foreign Information Use in North Korea: https://scdenney.shinyapps.io/ned_conjoint_shiny/
2022. “Hackers and Social Networks: How North Koreans Are Accessing Foreign Information,” Stimson Center, April 27.
2023. “Friendship and family networks are key to getting outside info to North Koreans,” NK News, March 13.
The National Scale-Ups Project
A collaborative effort between researchers from the University of Toronto, University of Vienna, Toronto Metropolitan University, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, and other institutions, this project aims to explore the landscape of high-performing firms, known as “scale-ups,” and their impact on key policy objectives, such as employment gains, technological innovation, and economic competitiveness.
This project addresses the lack of clarity surrounding the definition and identification of scale-ups, despite their potential for fulfilling key policy objectives and promoting national prosperity. Using administrative micro-files linked to financial and survey data, the project evaluates the economic impact of scale-ups conceptualized and measured across different economic dimensions through descriptive and economic analyses.
In addition, the project uses a new database containing innovation-related programs of the federal government (Business Innovation and Growth Support, or BIGS) to examine the impact of innovation support on the economic behavior of high-performing firms using program analysis methods.
This project is financially supported by a Mitacs Accelerate grant (2019-2021) and funding from the Treasury Board Secretariat of Canada and the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship.
“The Innovation Policy Preferences of Scale-up Firms,” with Travis Southin and David Wolfe. [revising for publication]
“Scale-ups and Canada’s Innovation Policy Suite: Usage and Impacts,” with Ryan Kelly, David Wolfe, and Carlos Rossell. [in preparation for submission]
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.
2023. “Scale-ups and Canada’s Innovation Policy Suite: Usage and Impacts,” 57th Canadian Economics Association Conference, May 30-June 3.
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.
2021. “Scale-ups drive productivity growth and R&D spending in Canada, study finds,” The Logic, December 10.
2021. “What it takes for Canadian scale-ups to succeed in the knowledge economy,” with Adam Froman, The Globe and Mail, April 28.
2021. “The Innovation Imperative: Why Canada needs to prioritize scale-ups in the face of Big Tech’s dominance,” with David Wolfe, Financial Post, March 24.