Conflict and Development Lab (CaDLab), Source: KDI School Impact Note l September 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. Tabakis, Chrysostomos: CaDLab aims to produce cutting-edge research on the conflict–development nexus. Our current members are Prof. Joonbum Bae, Prof. Baran Han, Prof. Changkeun Lee, Prof. Inbok Rhee, and I.
We have worked on two research projects so far. The first project explores the impact of the North Korean economic sanctions on the public’s support for the regime using focus group discussions with recent North Korean defectors. In the second study, we conduct a survey experiment on a sample of over 6,000 individual respondents in South Korea in order to better understand the mechanisms underlying the impact of disasters (such as the COVID-19 pandemic) and fear on in-group favoritism and out-group bias. Our paper is currently under review at an academic journal.
Q) What is the most memorable thing in your life in Conflict and Development?
Prof. Tabakis, Chrysostomos: (Regarding my experience with CaDLab,) We often have long, lively (and at times passionate) discussions regarding both our ongoing research projects and the ones that we intend to carry out in the future. Personally, I have learned a lot from my interactions with the other CaDLab members.
Q) Could you please share the story behind your Ph.D. experience or professional training?
Prof. Tabakis, Chrysostomos: I obtained my Ph.D. in Economics from Columbia University (in New York City). I started my Ph.D. studies right after obtaining my B.A. in Economics from Brandeis University (in Waltham, Massachusetts). My decision to pursue graduate studies in economics and especially to do research on international trade policy was inspired by a number of great professors I had interacted with during my undergraduate studies at Brandeis University. Moreover, while at Columbia University, I had the luck to have an advisor (Prof. Kyle Bagwell) who was very patient, supportive, and truly caring.
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. Tabakis, Chrysostomos: I went straight from Brandeis University to Columbia University to pursue my Ph.D. degree. I regret that I did not take time off between my undergraduate and graduate studies in order to travel and explore the world more.
Regarding what I did “best” as a student, I am not sure what the answer is. However, I can definitely say that the choices I made as a student led me to have a job that I truly love. In particular, I greatly enjoy doing research, teaching, and interacting with my students both inside and outside of the classroom.
Q) Do you have any last words you would like to say to the KDI School Students?
Prof. Tabakis, Chrysostomos: I would like to urge KDI School students to always aim high, work hard—which makes everything possible—and dream big. And, of course, stay safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic!