1. Elite Collective Action around New Capital
My current PhD research focuses on elite collective action around Chinese capital. I examine how coalitions of Chinese and host state elites wield structural and instrumental powers to instigate a realignment of economic policies toward the opportunities that China presents. I have previously explored Chinese capital and elite collective action through published and working papers: regressing territorial disputes and Chinese FDI in the Singaporean Economic Review, investigating state capacity and Chinese capital in Palgrave Communications, and comparing Chinese railway projects in the three states in a revise and resubmit at Development Policy Review and a previous version at Boston University’s Global Development and Policy Center.
2. Illicit Capital and Offshore Financial Centers
My post-PhD plans aims to examine what I call “illicit capital.” This type of capital has been neglected in the literature due to the focus on state and major private firms. I have already started researching this project and published some preliminary findings. For instance, my paper in Development and Change finds that online gambling firms launder their money through opaquely operated games that allow the transfer of capital across borders. My revise and resubmit at China Perspectives shows how Chinese gambling capital relies on the ‘linguistic’ labor provided by imported by legal and quasi-legal Chinese workers in the Philippines and Zambia.
3. The Political Economy of Natural Resources
And finally, based upon long-term fieldwork from 2013 to the present, another research project highlights the political economy of natural resource extraction and development. My Extractive Industries and Society article examines how global economic change and the subsequent socio-ecological contradictions generate firm resource extraction and environmental change in the Philippines from the American colonial period (1901-1941) to the current era. My Journal of Agrarian Change article finds a similar pattern in the Philippine cash crop industries, noting American investment in the draft animal sector and in colonial science allowed the firms and their allies to expand agricultural frontiers from coconut to sugar across the Philippines. My publications at Environmental Policy and Governance and the Austrian Journal of Southeast Asian Studies explore the Philippine mining sector during a more contemporary period (2001-2018).
4. Intersections of the Themes
I have similarly explored the intersection of my three research strands in other publications. A recently-published Extractive Industries and Society article compares divergent development patterns between Philippine and Indonesia. My revise and resubmit at Energy Strategy Review examines why Philippine political elites did not oppose Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in the energy distribution utilities while those same elites mobilized against investments in infrastructure, mining, agriculture, and banking. Two book chapter at “Mobilities of Labour and Capital in Asia” (published by Cambridge University Press) and “In China’s Backyard” (published by ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute) analyze Chinese illicit capital in Philippine small-scale mining.