Kai_Ostwald

My area of specialization is comparative politics. Within that subfield, I focus on ethnic politics, public policy, and the political economy of development. My research is mainly situated in Southeast Asia, especially Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. I've spent over five years on-location in the region in private sector and academic roles. My research has appeared in numerous outlets and has been supported by funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), UC Pacific Rim Research Program (PacRim), the Center on Emerging and Pacific Economies (EmPac), and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada. 


Below is a list of select research papers:

  • Vernacular Education, Segregated Classrooms, and Ethnic Diversity: on whether de facto segregated SAP schools in Singapore produce alumni with less ethnically diverse social networks than their counterparts from matched non-SAP schools (with Elvin Ong and Dimitar Gueorguiev - forthcoming in Politics, Groups, and Identities, 2017). 
  • Indonesia's Decentralization Experiment: Motivations, successes, and unintended consequences: on what Indonesia's 'big bang' decentralization has and hasn't achieved, and why (with Yuhki Tajima and Krislert Samphantharak - Journal of Southeast Asian Economies 2016)
  • Context and comparison in Southeast Asiaon the practical dimension of conducting comparative research in Southeast Asia (with Paul Schuler -- Pacific Affairs 2015)
  • How to win a lost election: on malapportionment in the Malaysian electoral system (The Round Table 2013)
  • Explaining Electoral Behaviour in Singapore: Party Credibility and Valence Voting: on how voting in Singapore is driven by perceptions of competence, rather than ideology, issues, and policy positions -- and how the PAP has been winning that credibility game. (with Steven Oliver - revise and resubmit).  
  • Limits of Economic Integration in ASEAN: on how the domestic political costs of dismantling non-tariff barriers limits economic integration under the AEC (with Krislert Samphantharak - revise and resubmit)
  • Ethnic Segregation and Public Goods: Evidence from Indonesia: on how spatial segregation of ethnic groups reduces the "diversity penalty" in the provision of public goods (with Yuhki Tajima and Krislert Samphantharak - revise and resubmit).
  • Canada's Foreign Policy and Bureaucratic (Un)Responsiveness: on how the dramatic shift in foreign policy visions between Trudeau and Harper has not substantially altered the public diplomacy of Canada's foreign affairs bureaucracy (with Julian Dierkes - under review).
  • Engineering Identity: on how Singapore's national services shapes civic and ethnic identities (working paper)
  • Political Affiliation and Ethnic Classification in the Malay Identity: on how public policy that mobilizes along ethnic lines impacts ethnic identity (under review.)
  • Placebo Statements in List Experiments, on the vulnerability to mechanical inflation in conventional list experiments plus an easy fix (with Guillem Riambau - under review). 
  • Voting Behavior Under Doubts of Ballot Secrecy: on how skepticism over ballot secrecy in Singapore affects voting behaviour (with Guillem Riambau - under review).  
  • Indonesia's 2014 Presidential Election: an empirical assessment of the recent divisive presidential election using innovative data from all 480k polling stations (with Dimitar Gueorguiev and Paul Schuler - working paper).
  • Federalism without Decentralization, on how Malaysia has become highly centralized despite institutional arrangements that suggest a highly decentralized structure (under review). 

As well as other publications and research memos:

Media:

Please click here for a description of my dissertation.