Dr Seunghoon Chae

Dr Seunghoon Chae

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow


Before joining the Politics Department, I was a DPhil student at Nuffield College. Due to mandatory service, I spent three years of the DPhil serving as a lieutenant in the Korean Army. It is during this time that I became committed to exploring the implications of state capacity.


I am currently one of the lab instructors for the undergraduate Quantitative Research Methods (Q-step 1 & 2) course in the Department. I have experience teaching undergraduate Comparative Government tutorials for various Oxford Colleges. Last year, I have also taught MPP (Master of Public Policy) students at the Blavatnik School of Government.

Research Interests

My Leverhulme project seeks to understand how state capacity (specifically the state's ability to detect and punish non-compliance) may influence the effectiveness of social-distancing measures in a pandemic. Through a series of lab and field experiments, the project hopes to identify key lessons to be learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile, I am also interested in state capacity’s role during conflict. State capacity can be a double-edged sword: what the state protects it can also take away. More capable states may not necessarily grant greater freedom to the individual, especially when a regime’s survival is at stake. I am particularly interested in state capacity’s impact on counter-terrorism operations and civilian-victimisation. Towards this end, one of my long-term goals is to compile a geo-coded Korean War civilian victimisation dataset.

Selected publications

Chae, S., Park, H. & Kim, W., 'At Odds? How European Governments Decided on Public Health Restrictions During COVID-19', Public Health, 205: 164–68 (2022)

Chae, S., 'Are Stronger States More Humane? A Re-evaluation of ‘Exemplary Villains’, Journal of Peace Research 58 (4): 702–18 (2021)

Chae, S. & Park, H., 'Effectiveness of Penalties for Lockdown Violations During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Germany', American Journal of Public Health 110 (12): 1844–49. (2020)

Awards and distinctions

Student Experiment Funding from the University of Oxford (2022)

Teaching Awards from Korea Military Academy (2019; 2021)

Distinguished Researcher Award from Korea Military Academy (2020)