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MY RESEARCH PROGRAMME

Trained and practicing as an economic geographer, I have a very strong passion for cutting-edge theoretical and empirical research that can contribute significantly to the innovation and development of my research fields and make fruitful connections to cognate research fields in the wider social sciences. My long-term research programme thus consists of three interrelated and inter-disciplinary themes:

theory and methodology in economic geography

I have always been interested in contributing significantly to theory and methodology in economic geography. Economic geography has been an extremely vibrant and versatile field of research both in human geography and in the social sciences during the past two decades. In a nutshell, it is a field of research that offers a distinctive economic-geographical perspective on everyday lives and landscapes. It shows how economic activities are spatially organized – through relations among people, firms, industries, and institutions – in different places and regions. My 2005 paper ''Rethinking relational economic geography',published in Geography’s top journal Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (3rd in Geography, 2015 SSCI) has pushed further the boundary of what constitutes the nature of economic geography.

economic globalization and transnational corporations

This major theme of my research focuses on the multi-faceted processes of economic globalization and the role of transnational corporations in driving these processes of global economic change. I have been conducting this research theme through both theoretical and empirical work. In terms of theory, I am particularly interested in the complex relationships between economic globalization and spatial organization. In my earliest theoretical paper on the interrelationships between capital, state, and space in the globalizing era, published in Geography’s Tier 1 journal Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (3rd in Geography, 2015 SSCI) in late 1998, I showed how economic globalization does not lead to the demise of the nation-state and thus the end of geography. Instead, I argued that state and space continue to constitute and shape in very dynamic ways the processes of economic globalization.

My collaborative work with colleagues in the "Manchester School" has now provided one of the most influential analytical frameworks for understanding contemporary economic globalization. This is the so-called "global production networks" (GPN) approach to the study of the global economy. We have published a series of highly cited papers in Global Networks (2001), Review of International Political Economy (2002), and Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (2004), Environment and Planning A (2006), and Regional Studies (2009) and Economic Geography (2015). Together, these highly cited papers constitute one of the major Research Fronts in the Social Science category of the ISI Essential Science Indicators (ranked 13rd out of 426 such fronts in the social sciences in July 2011). In 2015, Neil Coe and I co-authored the GPN2.0 theory book, Global Production Networks: Theorizing Economic Development in an Interconnected World, published by Oxford University Press.

In July 2014, I was awarded as Principal Investigator a US$4 million strategic grant by the National University of Singapore to establish the Global Production Networks Centre at NUS. Co-directed with Professor Neil Coe, this GPN@NUS Centre will start in October 2014 and is expected to pursue cutting-edge academic research during the grant tenure (till September 2018) and thereafter if future funding is secured

Asian firms in the global economy, in particular ethnic Chinese business firms and their global networks

This research theme fulfils my long-term empirical and policy interest in the role and performance of Asian firms in the global economy. Since my doctoral research, I have been very interested in the globalization of business firms from Asian newly industrialized economies. Applying the research insights from my theoretical work in the first two major themes described above, I have several completed and ongoing research projects that investigate these globalization processes and development outcomes of Asian firms. I completed a major monograph to advance the debate on developmental states and changing firm-state relations in Asia. It was published by Cornell University Press in May 2016 as Strategic Coupling: East Asian Industrial Transformation in the New Global Economy (Cornell Studies in Political Economy Series; Prelims and ToC here).



Department of Geography
National University of Singapore
1 Arts Link, Singapore 117570
Office: (65) 874-6810; Fax: (65) 777-3091
Email: HenryYeung@nus.edu.sg; Homepage: http://courses.nus.edu.sg/course/geoywc/henry.htm