A former aid worker in the DPRK, Jacob's research is motivated by his two decades of experience with the societies of North and South Korea. His research generally aims to reveal the structural dynamics of political organization and discourse. A well-rounded methodologist, Jacob blends social network, ethnography, archival and statistical analyses in a creative, mixed-methods approach to comparative political sociology.
Jacob's primary ongoing project contrasts two types of informal political organization -- patron-client networks and factions -- and how each affects the party politics of South Korea and Taiwan, respectively. In the area of political discourse, he has combined NLP and semantic network analyses of South Korean news media to model a quarter century of partisan debate on North Korean human rights.