Kyung Suk Lee, James D. Kim, Hwalmin Jin, and Matthew Fuhrmann “Nuclear Weapons and Low-Level Military Conflict (International Studies Quarterly, forthcoming)
(Paper Download)

Do nuclear weapons deter low-level military conflict? Although the political effects of nuclear weapons have been debated for more than 70 years, scholarship has yet to produce a clear answer. We design a study that reduces the risk of omitted variable bias relative to prior research. Our analysis compares the rates of conflict among eventual nuclear powers in the periods before and after they obtained an arsenal. We include two-way fixed effects to control for time invariant state-specific confounders and address common shocks. Our findings indicate that switching from nonnuclear status to a nuclear arsenal decreases the risk of being targeted in militarized interstate disputes (MID) by nonnuclear challengers. 

Working Papers

Hwalmin Jin and Michael Koch, “Korean Legislative Voting on War Issues” (Revise & Resubmit
(Paper Download)

We investigate how electoral concerns at the district level affect foreign policy issues by examining the individual legislators’ roll call decisions on the issue of sending troops to Iraq in the South Korea National Assembly. Our central claim is that South Korean legislators are sensitive to electoral concern when they decide to vote for war bills. The empirical findings confirm that there is a growing divergence of legislators’ roll call behavior depending on their electoral marginality. However, the effect of a constituency is contingent upon partisan cleavages. The study represents the first empirical examination of the use of force in roll call vote behavior outside of the U.S. and Europe, focusing on electoral marginality. The study also affords interesting tests of several hypotheses concerning the factors driving legislative voting behavior in the realm of military policy.
Weiwen Yin and Hwalmin Jin, “Bilateral Trade and Public and Private Mobilization (in progress)

We investigate how bilateral trade dependence affects the process of interstate conflicts. Public mobilization can be used as a tool to deter the enemy because it is a costly signal. It will become more costly when the country dyad depends on each other on trade because it suggests that the signal sender is even willing to endure trade disruption and sacrifice trade to deter the target. On the other hand, countries that do not trade with each other much have little incentive to use public mobilization to deter, while private mobilization/fait accompli becomes a more preferable option because of the benefit of surprise attack. Our paper adds to the understanding of why trade leads to peace. Unlike existing scholarship that shows trade promote peace by other mechanisms, such as liberal peace theory, we show that trade results in peace by strengthening the credibility of public mobilization, which deters war.