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Yong Kyun Kim

Assistant Professor of Political Science


Phone: 209.946.7636

Office Hours

George Wilson Hall, Room 204


PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2009

MA, Seoul National University, 2001

BS, Seoul National University, 1998

Curriculum Vitae 

Teaching philosophy

My teaching philosophy can be summarized with two words: interesting and open. I firmly believe that students learn the most when they are intellectually inspired and when they feel free to think and express themselves. First, I devote efforts to make my classes interesting to students not by making it easy, but making it more challenging with concepts and theories, and yet linking them back to real events to make them relevant and meaningful to their everyday lives. For instance, students in my IPE are amused to find themselves to be able to discuss previously seemingly arcane topics and issues they encountered in newspapers, such as currency war and the Eurozone crisis. Second, I always try to be open to different perspectives, opinions, and ideas in the classroom and to be available, accessible, and approachable outside the classroom. I believe that small classes, open discussions in class, and close and personal relationships with professors can greatly facilitate student learning as they help us better tailor our teaching to individual needs, and that this is something Pacific excels at providing to our students.  


My research agenda examines how features of domestic political institutions shape incentives of politicians and other key policy-makers, thereby influencing outcomes in international relations such as sovereign debt and default, international investment treaty making, and investor-state dispute settlement, issues that largely fall in the area of International Political Economy (IPE), but at the same time, lie to a large extent at the intersections among IPE, International Organization (IO), and International Law (IL). Thus, my approach is characterized by self-conscious efforts not only to bridge Comparative Politics (CP) and International Relations (IR), the two major subfields in Political Science, but also to integrate various elements of subfields within IR, namely, IPE, IO, and IL. My recent paper on Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) is an example:  "States Sued: Democracy, the Rule of Law, and Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)." International Interactions (forthcoming). My other publications include: "Credibility, Preferences, and Bilateral Investment Treaties." Review of International Organizations (2016); "Transparent Motives: Democratic Advantage in International Credit Markets." Journal of International Relations and Development (2015); and "Inequality and Sovereign Default under Democracy." European Journal of Economic and Political Studies (2013).


PACS 002. Pacific Seminar 1-World Politics and the Law. 4 Units.

How do states govern the interactions among themselves in the absence of a centralized authority? "World Politics and the Law" will examine the nature and consequences of international law to understand how and to what extent the rules, principles, and norms agreed upon between states provide order to world politics. Students will have opportunities to revisit such themes from PACS 1 as Civil Society, Citizenship, and Governance and Global Issues. We will extend the concept of a "good society" to the global, interstate level understanding that the law in relation to the interstate system, just as law in general, reflects beliefs and ideas regarding the question of what justice is. We will discuss such moral issues by analyzing concrete cases on various topics such as humanitarian intervention, world trade disputes, and the global environment.

INTL 077. Contemporary World Issues. 4 Units.
Students are introduced to the most important current global issues through a look at their contemporaneous history over the last century. Students also examine the political, economic, and cultural changes around the world that have led to today's problems and opportunities.

INTL 101. Social Science Research Methods. 4 Units.Students are introduced to how research is conducted in the social sciences. The course shows how qualitative and quantitative research complements each other and it compares research methodologies in the different social science disciplines. The course also introduces basic statistical methods for analyzing social scientific data, and introduces the use of computers for quantitative analysis. Prerequisite: fundamental quantitative skills. (GE3BPLAW)

INTL 174. Global Environmental Policy. 4 Units.
Students examine the major environmental problems that confront the world today and an analysis of specific policies formulated to address those problems. Among the issues to be studied are deforestation, atmospheric and marine pollution, climate change, ozone depletion, and species loss. Prerequisite: POLS 051(ENST)

POLS 011. Introduction to Comparative Politics. 4 Units.
Students examine the basic functions performed by a political system, compare the different organizations and procedures societies have developed for handling these functions, and analyze of recurring patterns of political behavior from the level of the individual to that of the nation/state. (GE1C)

POLS 146. Latin American Politics. 4 Units.
Students study the political processes and governmental structures of Latin American states, and focus on Mexico and Brazil, as well as certain other South and Central American countries. Selective attention is given to the expanding regional and international relations of Latin America.  

POLS 162. International Organization. 4 Units.
Students examine the role of international organization in the contemporary global political system. Major theories and approaches in the field are studied in conjunction with topics such as interstate conflict and peacekeeping, arms control and nonproliferation, human rights, economic relations between developed and developing countries, food and nutrition and management of the global commons. Prerequisite: POLS 051or permission of instructor. (PLAW)

POLS 164. International Political Economy. 4 Units.
Students examine the major analytical and substantive issues in the field of international political economy and explore the political and economic problems generated by growing interdependence among advanced industrial states and the conflicts between industrialized and developing countries over the structure and functioning of the postwar international economic order. Prerequisite: POLS 051.






Kim, Yong Kyun. Forthcoming. "States Sued: Democracy, the Rule of Law, and Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS)." International Interactions.

Cho, Seok-ju, Yong Kyun Kim, and Cheol-Sung Lee. 2016. "Credibility, Preferences, and Bilateral Investment Treaties." Review of International Organizations, 11(1): 25-58.

Kim, Yong Kyun, and Daniel C. O'Neill. 2015 (online). "Transparent Motives: Democratic Advantage in International Credit Markets." Journal of International Relations and Development, (20 February 2015) doi:10.1057/jird.2015.1.

Kim, Yong Kyun. 2013. "Inequality and Sovereign Default under Democracy." European Journal of Economic and Political Studies, 6(1): 5-40.