My research examines the political origins and consequences of economic inequality in comparative perspective. I am interested in elucidating the conditions under which economic inequality becomes politically salient to affect political attitudes and behavior. I am especially interested in identifying causal paths of how historical patterns of economic development and regime change affect inequality, inequality perceptions, and the sense of injustice both at the individual and collective levels. I utilize mixed methods, including lab and field experiments, primary surveys, interviews, ethnography, and comparative historical analysis based on in-depth qualitative fieldwork.
My current book project, Judging Inequality, explains how people define and judge economic inequality through the lens of injustice and the mechanisms through which inequality judgment shapes the political arena such as the politics of redistribution, political polarization, and democratic discontent.
I hold a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago and an M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School. I completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Program on U.S.-Japan Relations at Harvard University, where I was also affiliated with the Weatherhead Research Cluster on Comparative Inequality and Inclusion. Prior to joining Georgetown, I was an assistant professor at Waseda University in Japan.
You can reach me at yeonju.lee [at] georgetown.edu.