Chonghyun Choi is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of Notre Dame and a PhD fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, also at Notre Dame. His research areas are comparative politics and political economy, with a focus on the socioeconomic effects of political regimes and regime change.
In his dissertation, titled Democracy and Distribution: How Democracy Affects Inequality of Market Income, Chonghyun explores how democracy influences economic inequality by examining democracy’s effect on the distribution of income before taxes and transfers (distribution of market income). Although knowledge of democracy’s effect on the distribution of market income is a prerequisite to determining the exact relationship between democracy and inequality, most research on the topic has focused solely on the redistributive phase while neglecting the distributive phase. This is problematic since democracy’s consequence for inequality may differ across the two phases; for example, democracies may redistribute more regressively but distribute market income more equally in the first place. When researchers examine only redistribution or the final distribution of income after taxes and transfers (distribution of disposable income), they are bound to miss such empirical patterns. By developing and testing a theory of democracy’s distributive, as opposed to redistributive, consequence, the dissertation seeks to provide the keystone that has been missing in the research program on the democracy-inequality nexus.
In addition to the dissertation, Chonghyun is working on two research papers. The first paper examines how regime type influences the effectiveness with which countries handle economic crises, employing evidence from the Great Recession of 2008. The second one, a co-authored paper, addresses why the degree of economic freedom women enjoy varies widely across countries, even for those at similar levels of development.
Prior to attending Notre Dame, Chonghyun received an M.A. (Political Science) from the University of Florida, and an M.A. (International Relations) and a B.A. (Political Science) from Seoul National University.