Social Economy Lab (SEL), Source: KDI School Impact Note l November 2020
Q) First, please introduce your lab and research field. (Could you please introduce your research lab to us? What projects are you initiating as of today and in the past? Who are the members in your research lab?)
Prof. Choi, Seulki: The social economy is basically people-centered, where cooperation between people is the most basic. When general capital operates as companies in society, there are fine parts and services are unreliable in parts where failure occurs in the market among them. Some of them consider the economic efficiency such as what makes it possible, what in that area, and how the social economy can be better used when operated in a social economic way.
The lab researchers are composed of Prof. Choi, Chang-Yong (leader), Prof. Lee, Junesoo, and Prof. Choi, Seulki. When the lab was first created, there was one more person. Now, Professor Hee-sook Yoon has become a member of the National Assembly. After the lab was created, we worked hard to study together, but when Professor Yoon became a member of the National Assembly in the spring of last year, Professor Yoon left the school and left the lab research team as well.
Q) What is the most memorable thing in your life in Social Economy Lab (SEL)?
Prof. Choi, Seulki: We thought that the social economy could help improve our country’s social services, so our researchers actively participated and worked on it. Elderly caregivers, caregivers, and the government supporting them all are unsatisfied. The service is at the lowest level, and the care-worker’s income is set at the minimum wage level. At the same time, the related budget was growing, so there were many concerns from the government. This problem can also be seen as an example of market failure. In the social economy, it is worth paying attention to the case where the new principle of operation can be rather competitive among the areas where the market fails. When the elderly care is operated in a social economic manner, we conducted a policy study on the grounds that improvement effects can be expected in all three areas. The research results were reflected to a large extent in the future policy establishment.
Q) Could you please share the story behind your Ph.D. experience or professional training?
Prof. Choi, Seulki: I think this problem will be experienced by all of our master’s students working on research projects. Writing the right proposal is not easy. I hope that you consider a lot and make full use of your advisor. Your advisor’s advice will be helpful if your research problem is academically meaningful, and whether there is a problem with your own research method to clarify it. First, it seems that the process was the most difficult when I wrote the thesis in that field for the first time in my life. It was uncertain whether or not something significant seems to come out of research from the beginning. At first time, it was not known whether this was an important topic, and it was unclear whether or not the academic community had not studied this topic.
Q) Looking back from your position as a professor, what are some of the things you think you did best and regret the most as a student?
Prof. Choi, Seulki: It doesn’t seem like there was a big incident. In fact, it seems that studying is something that you do while accumulating one by one. So, what you have to work hard on is the moment of the process as you pass by, the whole process is overall.
Q) Do you have any last words you would like to say to the KDI School students?
Prof. Choi, Seulki: It connects to the story I said earlier, but I think it will be a lot difficult when the students first write their master’s research project. When a student first thought that he would get a master’s degree, a student needs to try harder to explore the field he was interested in. You can get a lot of guidance through counseling with your supervisor on what research problems you think should be made as a research project as a research problem. If you can go to your supervisor with anxiety and improve it, you can easily proceed with these things if you communicate with your supervisor well.
Everyone has difficulties getting along during the coronavirus, but making it possible to interact with students as much as possible even online will be a part of school life. I would like to actively participate in the exchange with students, which gave me the opportunity to discuss in the class. I hope everyone to stay healthy.