He started his career as a professor of economics at Syracuse University in 1986. He has been on the faculty of economics at Sogang University since 1988, and also taught at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Singapore Management University as visiting professor. He has been Urban Finance Advisor at the UN Centre for Human Settlements between 1994 and 1996. He received his Ph.d in economics from Princeton University in 1987.
In May 2015, Kim Kyung Hwan was appointed as Vice Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of South Korea after serving as President of the Korea Research Institute for Human Settlements for about two years.