Waseda Institute for Advanced Study (WIAS)Waseda University


LEE, Yeon Ju


LEE, Yeon Ju


Ph.D., Political Science


Assistant Professor



Monthly Spotlight

[Monthly Spotlight] is focusing on a researcher to introduce his/her research.
Why does high income inequality not lead to greater demands for redistribution in many democracies?

Research Topic

Political Origins and Consequences of Economic Inequality; Political Economy of Development; Democracy; Political Attitudes and Behavior; East Asian Politics

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 shape political attitudes and behavior and the quality of democracy, such as democratic discontent. 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.

Education and Academic Employment

Academic Employment

  • Assistant Professor, Waseda Institute for Advanced Studies, Waseda University, 2019-present
  • Associate, Weatherhead Cluster on Comparative Inequality and Inclusion, Harvard University, 2018-present
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, 2018-2019
  • Visiting Scholar, University of Tokyo, 2017-2018


  • Ph.D., Political Science, University of Chicago, 2018
  • M.P.P. (Master in Public Policy), Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University, 2010
  • B.A., Political Science and International Relations, Korea University, 2006
Fields of Research Interests

Comparative politics; Comparative Political Economy; Political Economy of Development and Inequality; Democracy; Political Attitudes and Behavior; East Asian politics

Academic Publications
  • Judging Inequality (Book manuscript; Book conference held at Harvard University in June 2019)
  • The Sense of Injustice, Perceived Inequality, and Preferences for Redistribution (working paper)
  • The Sense of Injustice in Comparative Perspective (working paper)
  • How the Public Defines Inequality in Comparative Perspective (working paper)
Other Interests

Triathlon; swimming; wall climbing; painting; piano; flute

Affiliated Academic Organizations

American Economic Association
American Political Science Association
American Sociological Association
Midwest Political Science Association

  • Winner, 2019 Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group (HCEO) Dissertation Prize, University of Chicago (the first non-economics Ph.D. to win the prize)
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Weatherhead Center for International affairs, Harvard University, 2018-2019
  • Michael and Ling Markovitz Dissertation Fellowship (one of the University’s most honorific fellowships awarded to 1-2 students in the Social Sciences Division), University of Chicago, 2017-2018
  • Center for East Asian Studies Dissertation Fellowship, University of Chicago, 2016-2017
  • Toyota Dissertation Research Fellowship, University of Chicago, 2015-2016
  • Grodzins Prize Lectureship, University of Chicago, 2016
  • William J. and Myrtle N. Hawley Scholarship, University of Chicago, 2011-2012
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