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Author: Hannah Jun

Investments in socially responsible investing (SRI), an investment process that integrates environmental, social, and governance considerations into investment decisionmaking, have grown rapidly in many areas around the world. But compared to the growth of SRI investments on a global level, there is little clarity in the academic literature about why investors would choose to implement such a strategy. This paper attempts to highlight key theories and approaches to understand the motivetions of socially responsible investors and, in doing so, provide a more robust theoretical framework that underpins the recent global phenomenon.

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In: Asian International Studies Review
Author: Hannah Jun

The past two decades have witnessed the remarkable success of Hallyu, or the Korean Wave, with Korea welcoming a large influx of foreign visitors and benefiting from massive consumption of products ranging from Korean television and film, K-pop and lifestyle products. A more recent announcement by CJ E&M points to an even more aggressive plan for regional ubiquity, as encapsulated by |Hallyu 4.0. Simultaneously, we have already felt some of the effect of policy changes in China - a core Hallyu market - as a responce to Korea's plan to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system. In this sense, we see the stirrings of a clash between Korean soft power and Chinese hard power, and are uncertain who will emerge on top. This paper examines the broad success of Hallyu from key theoretical perspectives, while addressing linkages between Korean corporations and cultural power/influence that have led to an announcement such as Hallyu 4.0. This paper also highlights the recent to tensions between Korea and China, specifically with respect to THAAD deployment, and outlines potential implications for businesses and policymakers through preliminary scenarios.

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In: Asian International Studies Review
Author: Hannah Jun

Continued interest in corporate social responsibility (CSR) has led to a plethora of definitions, standards, and guidelines. While this has contributed to a rich and diverse body of literature, there is a pressing need for clarity on what CSR means in specific geographic contexts and how these reflect stakeholder expectations. This is particularly the case for firms, which are the objects of CSR evaluations and investment by socially responsible investors. To enhance an understanding of the global varieties of CSR, this paper analyzes prominent definitions of CSR in Korea, specifically those proposed by the Korea Economic Justice Institute (KEJI) and Sustinvest Co., Ltd. By doing so, this paper will help articulate how CSR is conceptualized in Korea and how to situate this variety of CSR in a comparative context.

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In: Asian International Studies Review
Authors: Hannah Jun and Hyojin Kim

Recent corporate governance scandals (such as those at Uber) have reemphasized the importance of proper oversight and monitoring to ensure sustainable corporate performance. While the issue of how to improve corporate governance is not a new one, we have seen a resurgence of interest in whether diversity – particularly at the board of director level – improves this oversight function and, ultimately, corporate performance. This paper contributes to the academic discussion on board of director diversity with a focus on gender diversity and introduces Korea as a subject of analysis given that corporate governance remains a key area of concern for the local market and that, despite having had a female president in its relatively short democratic history and launching the WomenCorporateDirectors Korea branch in 2016, it ranks last among OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) member states in terms of female representation on corporate boards. We contribute to the academic debate on the relationship between gender diversity on corporate boards and corporate performance by undertaking a comprehensive literature review on board diversity and corporate performance, introducing data on Korean boards of directors and generating testable hypotheses for future research.

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In: Asian International Studies Review
Authors: Jasper Kim and Hannah Jun

What factors fuelled the South Korean property boom since 2002, and whar (if anything) can be done to prevent a U.S.-style subprime crisis in the local real estate markers? This issue has grown even more urgent given observations of a potential bubble and burst scenario following the U.S. sub-prime crisis. This paper aims to bring together these concerns, from an interdisciplinary regulatory, economic and socio-cultural per-spective, by (1) providing a comprehensive and current overview of housing market dynamics in Korea, (2) examining South Korea's real estate regulatory policies since 2002 with-statistical evidence from the Bank of Korea (BOK), and (3) providinga brief policy implication and suggestion sectionre-garding the Korean housing marker conditions in the post-subprime crisis era.

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In: Asian International Studies Review
Authors: Min Joung Park and Hannah Jun

This paper critically assesses the United Nations-business partnership since the establishment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015. This study provides a critical overview of relevant theoretical approaches, buttressed by evidence from public-private partnership cases. Applying international relations (IR) theories permits qualitative research on, and future evaluation of, the partnership’s emergence. This study finds that while we see core elements of the rational choice perspective in the formation and implementation of the UN-business partnership, we see its legitimization via constructivist rhetoric–even for cases where the neo-Gramscian view is compelling. While traditional PPPs are often transnational, the mood articulated by the UN may have shifted goals for “private” parties, with firms’ motivations moving from a purely for-profit stance to one that embraces more social responsibility; goals also shifted for “public” parties, from state to interstate objectives, and from micro (infrastructure) to macro (shared development goals) objectives.

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In: Asian International Studies Review

While it has become clear that the global community needs to utilize partnerships between the public and private sectors to achieve broader economic and development goals, there has been less discussion about the potential role of investors in shaping and participating in this movement. Part of this may be due to familiarity with traditional methods such as official development assistance (ODA) and relatively less understanding about recent innovations in socially responsible investing (SRI), including social impact bonds and development impact bonds. As economies like Korea have begun to show greater interest in harnessing various investment strategies to achieve broader social goals, we find it critical to better understand what financial tools are available within the context of encouraging sustainable development. As such, this paper highlights the potential role investors can play in contributing to broader social issues both at home and abroad through an examination of recent innovations in SRI – specifically, the category of so-called “socially responsible bonds.”

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In: Asian International Studies Review

Conventional wisdom would predict firms with little financial and technological capabilities to fail. This is especially true for such firms in the high-tech sector during periods of industry downturn. In this paper, we ask how firms experiencing financial and technological gaps can succeed by transforming current challenges into opportunities via governance innovation. We select Hynix and the semiconductor industry for the investigation. Hynix emerged from near bankruptcy become the number two player in the global semiconductor memory market. We find that Hynix’s case requires extending prevailing theory to focus on governance and control. We pinpoint specific factors that contributed to Hynix’s success from the perspective of governance innovation for the theoretical extension and suggest practical implications.

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In: Asian International Studies Review