Yumiko Shimabukuro's core research and teaching interests lie in the areas of political economy, comparative politics, and social welfare policy with a regional expertise in Northeast Asia. She currently teaches graduate-level courses for the MPA in Economic Policy Management (MPA-EPM) program, the Executive Masters in Public Administration (EMPA) program, and the Urban and Social Policy concentration program at SIPA. She received an MA in International Economics from Columbia University, a PhD in Political Economy from the Department of Political Science at MIT, and a Post-Doctoral Fellowship from Harvard University. She served in various capacities in investment banking and the non-profit sector working on issues ranging from financial product innovation to sustainable development practices.

She is currently completing a book manuscript entitled Building an Inegalitarian Welfare State: The Impact of Dualistic Coordinated Capitalism & Elite-Made Democracy in Japan that analyzes how the country's pursuit of a modern capitalist democracy over the course of a century generated conditions inimical to the development of a safety net. It amends the Varieties of Capitalism approach and implements the new research agenda developed by "the historical turn in democratization studies" to explain the institutional co-evolution of markets, politics, and the welfare states in Japan and beyond.    

Her second book project, Beneath Economic Success: Critical Cases of the Brewing Social Crisis in East Asia, offers a set of six innovative, multidimensional case studies that examine the wide-range of social problems currently plaguing East Asia in the areas of housing, social security, healthcare, fertility, child welfare, and labor markets. It explores the causes and consequences of these problems as well as the public, private and non-profit sector responses to them in China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and Hong Kong.  

Her article-length papers address the issues of industrial relations, the social policy preferences of business and organized labor, and the redistributive politics of disadvantaged groups. She is currently undertaking a research project that examines how economic development strategies, patterns of land reform, and the nature of special interest politics impact government housing policies and their distributional consequences in East Asia. Shimabukuro's research has been funded by the Social Science Research Council, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University, the Association of Asian Studies, and the Center for International Studies at MIT, among others.

She teaches six courses, including Political Economy Seminar, International Political Economy, Managing Socio-Economic Risk, Social Investment and Economic Growth in East Asia, and Comparative Social Welfare Policy. She is the recipient of the Harvard Teaching Excellence Award and the Columbia University Outstanding Teaching Award.