Research and teaching interests include political economy, urban anthropology, anthropology of law, Hong Kong, China and North America. Author of Making Room: Squatter Clearance in Hong Kong. Articles on squatting, public housing, illegal economies, planning and Hong Kong investment in China have appeared in American Anthropologist, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, International Journal of the Sociology of Law, Critique of Anthropology, Society and Space, Asian Journal of Public Administration, Cultural Anthropology, Urban Anthropology, City and Society, and a variety of edited volumes. Currently doing research on social change in China, social exclusion in cities, and housing in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong is notable for having rapidly transformed from widespread corruption to clean government after the formation of the Independent Commission Against Corruption in 1974. Previous anti-corruption efforts had been less effective. One of them was the placing of advertisements in English and Chinese newspapers before Christmas and Chinese New Year encouraging the public not to offer gifts to government officers.