Kai’s area of specialization is comparative politics. Within that subfield, he focuses on public policy and the politics of development. His research is situated primarily in Southeast Asia, especially Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

His recent projects examine a range of areas, including the effects of decentralization in Indonesia, barriers to regional economic integration in Southeast Asia, political Islam and security concerns, and policy approaches to accommodating ethnic diversity in Singapore and Malaysia.

His research has appeared in numerous outlets and has been supported by the National Science Foundation, UC Pacific Rim Research Program, the Center on Emerging and Pacific Economies, and the International Development Research Centre. He is a former visiting associate at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS).

Further information is available at: www.kaiostwald.me

Please CLICK HERE for a current version of my CV from my personal website.

Peer Review:

Indonesia’s Decentralization Experiment: Motivations, successes, and unintended consequences” (with Yuhki Tajima and Krislert Samphantharak) (Forthcoming 2016, Journal of Southeast Asian Economies).

Context and Comparison in Southeast Asia: the Practical Side of the Area Studies – Discipline Debate” (with Paul Schuler) – Pacific Affairs, 2015.

How to Win a Lost Election: Malapportionment and Malaysia’s 2013 General Election”, The Round Table: Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, 2013.

Other Publications:

“Delayed Transition: The end of consensus leadership in Vietnam?” ISEAS Perspective, #2, 2016 (with Paul Schuler).

“Myanmar’s landmark elections: unresolved questions” ISEAS Perspectives, #68, 2015 (with Paul Schuler).

“Has Chinese foreign policy in Southeast Asia entered a bolder and more assertive phase?” Asia Pacific Memo, #342, 2015.

“LNG in British Columbia, scandals in Malaysia, and the complexity of policy decisions” Asia Pacific Memo, #340, 2015.

“The many implications of cheap oil in Southeast Asia.” Asia Pacific Foundation, 2015.

“Will the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) transform Southeast Asian economies in 2015?” Asia Pacific Memo, #322, 2015 (with Krislert Samphantharak)

“Ebola, SARS, and the Economies of Southeast Asia”, ISEAS Perspective, #63, 2014.

“The Perilous Start and Uncertain Future of the Jokowi Era in Indonesia”, Asia Pacific Memo, #311, 2014

“The Year in Malaysian Politics: Democracy’s Crooked Trajectory”, Asia Pacific Memo, #310, 2014

“Malaysian elections, malapportionment, and redelineation.”, New Mandala, 2013.

Book Reviews:

Political Change in Southeast Asia, by Jacques Bertrand, in Journal of East Asian Studies, 2015.

Southeast Asia in the New International Era, by Dayley, R. and Neher, C. in Journal of East Asian Studies, 2014.

Kai currently teaches courses in UBC’s Masters of Public Policy and Global Affairs, as well as in the Department of Political Science. His past courses include:

  • Domestic and Global Policy Process – 2015 (MPPGA, UBC)
  • Quantitative Analysis for Policy – 2015 (MPPGA, UBC)
  • Policy Making Process – 2015 (MA level, IAR, UBC)
  • Southeast Asian Governments and Politics – 2015 (BA level, UBC)
  • Perspectives and Methods in Asia Pacific Policy Studies – 2014 (MA level, IAR, UBC)
  • Political Economy of Southeast Asia – 2013 and 2014 (MA level, IR/PS, UCSD)
  • Economic Development of Southeast Asia – 2012 and 2014 (MA level, IR/PS, UCSD)
  • Politics of Southeast Asia – 2013 (BA level, UCSD)
  • Politics of Multiculturalism – 2012 (BA level, UCSD)
  • Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict – 2012 (BA level, UCSD)

Kai is currently involved in several projects with external partners, including:

Canada-ASEAN Business Outlook Survey: In collaboration with the Canada-ASEAN Business Council (CABC) and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF), Kai led a team of UBC MPPGA students in conducting a survey of the Canadian private sector in Southeast Asia. The purpose was to provide insights into market conditions in the ASEAN region and better understand how the Canadian government can support deeper Canada-ASEAN economic ties. The report and additional information on the project can be found here. 

Emerging Myanmar Initiative: The Institute of Asian Research at UBC will be leading a capacity development program at the Yangon University of Economics and the University of Yangon in Myanmar, from 2017-2019. Further information to be posted shortly.

V-Dem: Kai is a contributor to the V-Dem project.

Canada-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement Study: Kai and a team of MPPGA students at UBC are contributing (together with the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, the Business Council of Canada, and the Canada-ASEAN Business Council) to a study that will provide policy recommendations for the federal government of Canada on how to deepen the bilateral relationship with the ASEAN region.