CIRHR to Welcome New Faculty Member, Taeho Kim

June 3, 2021 by Cate MacLeod

The CIRHR is pleased to welcome two new faculty members who will be joining us over the course of the next year, Jenna Myers and Taeho Kim.

Read more about Jenna Myers

Dr. Taeho Kim will be joining us on April 1, 2022. He recently completed his doctorate in economics at the University of Chicago.

Taeho grew up in Korea and has spent the second half of his life—apart from two years serving in the Korean military—living in in various parts of the United States, including New Hampshire, where he completed his BA in economics and mathematics at Dartmouth College. After completing his PhD this June, he will spend some time at the University of Pennsylvania as a Fellow at the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice.

Taeho is an applied microeconomist. His research interests include workplace practices, criminal justice, and labour markets.

“I am delighted that Taeho will be joining the CIRHR community after his post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania Quattrone Centre," says Acting Director, Dionne Pohler. "His research and teaching interests in economics will both complement and diversify the strengths of our current CIRHR faculty. Taeho’s application of insights from labor economics and his use of econometrics to explore police accountability and performance is very timely. His research is on a topic of significant policy importance to many people and communities.”

What research will you be working on at the CIRHR?

In my most recent project, I have studied the question of how to improve accountability and performance in police agencies. Police officers and government bureaucrats affect our society in important ways – through public safety, economic and community development, and legitimacy of the government, but it is harder than the private sector to change the institution, because incentive schemes for employees are limited. To initiate any reforms, we need better understanding of the institution of the police, and our understanding is only nascent in this area. My job market paper investigates the effects of body cameras on law enforcement outcomes such as the use of force, policing capabilities, and public perceptions toward the police. I have couple other projects that examine how promotion incentives affect police performance and behavior and how gender diversity affects male officers. In another stream of research, I am interested in inequalities in labor markets, and in one project I examine negotiation skills and gender inequality in a field experiment in Thailand.

What first got you interested in police accountability and performance?

When I came to Chicago for graduate school in 2015, Chicago had just witnessed a controversial use of force incident. I began to closely follow latest news stories about police use of force incidents, and unfortunately, they did not stop. What also stood out to me in Chicago was the intense tension between the police and minority community members. It was very clear to me that the police legitimacy crisis needed to be urgently addressed.

Meanwhile, in my graduate program, I was interested in labor economics and learning more about how to use econometric tools and data to tackle important policy questions. Naturally, I began to apply insights from labor economics and applied econometric tools to ask questions about police accountability. What kind of incentives do police officers have? How do police officers make enforcement decisions? And what tools do policy makers have to incentivize police officers? As I started research into policing, I realized that police accountability and performance were very related, and that they needed to be examined together to assess policy changes of the police in a balanced way. 

What is your favourite thing to do outside of academia?

I like spending time outdoors. I enjoy going on runs to city parks, for example, and every now and then, I go on camping and hiking trips to national parks. Some recent trips include Death Valley, Yosemite, and Olympic National Park in the US, and I look forward to exploring some Canadian outdoor scenes in coming years.