Meet Yu-Hsien Sung, 2020 APSA Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grantee

The American Political Science Association is pleased to announce the Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (DDRIG) Awardees for 2020. The APSA DDRIG program provides support to enhance and improve the conduct of doctoral dissertation research in political science. Awards support basic research which is theoretically derived and empirically oriented.

Yu-Hsien Sung, University of South Carolina

Yu-Hsien Sung is a PhD student in political science and a master’s student in applied statistics at the University of South Carolina. Her research focuses on law and politics. Her dissertation, Prosecutorial Policies: District Attorneys, Public Opinion, and Localized Rule of Law, focuses on discretionary decisions and variations in local legal practices. Specifically, the dissertation examines how US prosecutors exercise policy-oriented discretion to generate support from political elites and voters in ways that vary across prosecutorial selection methods. Using data from a conjoint experiment and observational data from policy statements on government websites, she explains why criminal-justice policies range so dynamically from the punitive (e.g., long sentences) to the corrective (e.g., drug treatment and diversion). Her findings clarify how and under what conditions prosecutorial behavior is constrained by political, ideological, and institutional factors.

Additionally, Yu-Hsien Sung has researched constitutional courts throughout East Asia. In this regard, Ms. Sung recently traced the political foundations of Asia’s first same-sex marriage decision, which was made by the Constitutional Court in Taiwan, her native country. Other research that she has conducted makes use of survey experiments and clarifies how the backgrounds of the Grand Justices on Taiwan’s Constitutional Court have influenced the Taiwanese public’s perceptions of court rulings.