I’m an Associate Professor of Political Science and Asian Studies at Union College in New York, with an affiliation with the Science, Medicine & Technology in Culture Program. And, I am the Director of Asian Studies (2019- ).
In 2021-22, I will be a Council on Foreign Affairs International Affairs Fellow for Tenured International Relations Scholars (IAF-TIRS).
In 2019, I was the Hallsworth Visiting Professor at the Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester.
In 2016-17, I was a visiting scholar at the Strategic Management and Public Policy Department at the School of Business, George Washington University.
And in 2013-14, I was the An Wang Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University’s Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies. I’ve also been a visiting scholar at the School of Government at Peking University and the Shandong Institute of East Asian Studies in Jinan, China.
My research has been funded by Fulbright fellowships, the Harvard-Yenching Institute, Lemelson Technology Grants, the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation, the National Security Education Program, the Blakemore Foundation, among many other smaller grants. I received my Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and my BA from Princeton University in Philosophy, summa cum laude.
My current research and teaching projects focus on the intersection of China and Global Value Chains in high-tech sectors, like 5G telecommunications and semiconductors, Chinese industrial and technology policies, and US-China economic coercion. Several of my current projects (with many fabulous co-authors) examines the ‘stack’ of modular technologies in the 5G telecommunications system. We are examining: the evolution of country-level and firm-level technological specialization and integration; the increasing role of Chinese firms (especially Huawei) and their inter-firm linkages in this ecosystem; the redundancies, substitutability, vulnerabilities and chokepoints in GVCs for the US, China and other countries; the implications for industrial and technology policies and for decoupling as a rules-based globalization is up-ended and the foreign policy and security implications of these technological changes. These include distinct projects covering:
1) a study on mobile telecommunications, including 5G which examines firm substitutability, country vulnerability and policy implications of what we call ‘massive modular systems,’ based on 600+ mobile handset teardown reports (from 2004-2021), which contain data on every component in each phone (with Daria Taglioni @World Bank, Tim Sturgeon @MIT, Eric Thun @Oxford). We have to very short World Bank blogs that summarize some of our ideas here and here.
2) a study of technological evolution of mobile application processors (CPUs), which tracks the ‘encapsulation’ of mobile functionality into digital apps processors, using data on ~10,000 phones (with Daria Taglioni @World Bank, Tim Sturgeon @MIT, Eric Thun @Oxford)
3) a study of open source contributions to Android Operating System using millions of software contributions (with Jimmy Shiu @National Chengkung University)
4) a couple of studies on the telecom standard-setting process in 3GPP, including firm contributions in TSG working groups, the creation of coherent sub-groups within 3GPP, and the linkage between SEPs and standard-setting (with Jimmy Shiu @National Chengkung University)
5) several studies on inter-firm alliances in the semiconductor industry (with Doug Fuller @CUHK and Jimmy Shiu @National Chengkung University). These studies focus on the intersection of industry structure, global interdependencies and national security. They include a study of the global networks linking about 500 IP core vendors with global leading foundries, a study of TSMC Open Innovation Platform, and a study of evolution of inter-firm strategic alliances in semiconductors since the 1990s.
US-China tensions over technology: Another set of projects examine the dynamic evolution since the early 2000s of Chinese technology policies, and US reactions, including economic coercion.
6) Chinese news articles focused on technology to examine the change in rhetoric within China on US-China technology issues
7) Chinese industrial and technology policies, including policies focused on semiconductors
8) US sanctions legislation, including export controls and tariffs and other forms of economic coercion,
9) The effectiveness of US Entity List designation on Chinese firms’ trade behavior which uses very detailed firm-level trade datasets on Chinese firms,and which partially build upon my China Transactional Trade and Investment Data Project (see below).
Other exciting projects include:
10) a study on global mobile apps software development (with Umair Choksy @ UKent and Matt Alford @UManchester)
11) research on Brazilian development in GVCs (with Tim Sturgeon @MIT)
A long-termer project examines Global Value Chains through the lens of complexity theory and emergence in China and the East Asian region with the intersection of “big data” and qualitative research methods (concept formation, categorization and measurement). In 2013, I initiated a large and on-going project called the China Transactional Trade and Investment Data Project. An important component of CTTID is a unique database on Chinese trade. Together with colleagues in Computer Science, Economics and Statistics, we have acquired and installed a large-scale database which records every import and export transaction conducted by Chinese firms (a few hundred million transactions in all). In addition, I have collected other large data sets, which I use to observe in detail the organization of Chinese, East Asian and trans-regional trade, FDI and production networks, all with an eye for better understanding both the organization of the international economy, as well as China’s integration with it and the policy implications of fragmented production for China and developing countries. This is a project with which many students have also been involved. The large-scale size of the databases mean that analysis is extraordinarily time consuming and ripe for collaboration.
Using these data along with materials from extensive fieldwork in China, I am writing a book entitled Fragmented Development: China, East Asia and Emergent Global Production, which details the fragmentation of global production and trade, the effects on and adaptations of Beijing policymakers, local governments and producer groups, the role of industrial and other policies, and regional development. I also have many articles and book chapters on these topics.
Please feel free to contact me (email@example.com) and let me know your interests if you would like to collaborate.