Ongoing Projects

Development and Environmental Ramifications of Chinese Capital

“The Politics of Chinese  Investments: Large-Scale Mining and Small-Scale Mining in the Philippines and Indonesia.”

Examining Divergence in FDI Transmission Channels: Chinese-funded Industrial Parks in Indonesia and Malaysia,” with Kevin Gallagher and Guanie Lim

Elite collective action and Chinese Capital in the Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

“Derailing Development: China’s Railway Projects and Financing Coalitions in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines,” GCI Working Paper 008, 01/2020. Chinese translation here

“The Contentious Politics of Capital: The Political Economy of Chinese Investments in the Philippines.” Honorable Mention, Best Graduate Student Paper Award, American Sociological Association’s Section on the Sociology of Development, 2018.

“Sinews of Politics: State Grid Corporation of China and Investment Coalitions in the Philippines.” 

New Projects (with details)

Illicit Capital: Online Gambling, Money Laundering, and Syndicates

This project uses the term “illicit capital” to explain the surge of Chinese capital into seemingly unprofitable sectors. Since Rodrigo Duterte became the President, Chinese capital massively expanded into the Philippines. However, rather than a robust manufacturing sectors or strong foundational infrastructures, Chinese capital simply expanded into purchasing to acquire physical assets and small businesses despite having little-to-no profit gain. As such, I argue that Chinese investment constitutes “Illicit capital” that seeks to escape the clutches of the Chinese state by purchasing different types of assets across a range of economies. Bringing together the literature in development, political economy, and international crime, I look at the degree to which Chinese firms in the Philippines are simply vectors for money laundering.

An early draft of the project has been presented at a workshop hosted by Kyoto University’s Center for Southeast Asian Studies.

“The Impact of Territorial Disputes on Sectoral FDI,” with Janica Magat.

Previous works on the effects of conflict or dispute on FDI generally focus on increases or decreases of investments nationally, but the question of which sectors receive investments during the eruption or stabilization of disputes goes generally unexamined. We investigate this question in the context of the South China Sea disputes in the Philippines. We use a difference model and find that a regime’s position on the South China Sea (SCS) significantly impacts Chinese FDI. Rather than using inflow-outflow data, which is noisy as it includes remitted payments, we use a novel dataset on firm registrations. We find that that the annual number of new firm entrants with Chinese investment in primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors are affected differently by the eruption of the disputes or the stabilization of the maritime borders. These findings not only contribute to literatures on the political economy of conflict by examining a different outcome variable, but also affirm works on the varieties of Chinese capital, finding that some sectors are differently affected by geopolitics.

Preliminary results of the project have been presented at the World Bank’s Development Research Group.

“A Survey Experiment on the Filipino, Indonesian, and Malaysian Perceptions of the South China Sea Disputes and Chinese Capital,” with Janica Magat.

We are launching a survey experiment in maritime Southeast Asia, analyzing the impact of non-militarized territorial disputes on the perceptions of Filipinos, Indonesians, and Malaysians. We have designed a survey experiment that carefully allocates the treatment and control. We plan to cover around 600 participants per country, partly also covering the types of Chinese capitals, the Belt and Road, and COVID-19.