Sungmin Rho

2015-2016 Postdoctoral Fellow

Sungmin Rho is currently an assistant professor of political science at Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies at Geneva. Her research interests focus on political economy of authoritarian states. Her book project, titled Atomized Incorporation: labor management strategies in the post-reform China, explores the ways in which the state-labor relations have evolved by analyzing migrant workers' protest behavior. The research probes why the number of labor protests in China has increased despite the state's strong coercive capacity and why relatively better firms have been more prone to migrant workers' collective action. Based on an in-depth fieldwork and quantitative analyses of survey data and a survey experiment, her research suggests that the socioeconomic conditions during the 1980s and 1990s have diminished the Chinese state's incentives in maintaining labor repression. In this new political environment, migrant workers have engaged in labor protests when they expect attention from third-party actors including non-state foreign actors.