JYP CARC - Research Grants Awarded

 

1. Title

“On the Evolution of Schooling Decisions and Cultural Attitudes Towards Work”

  Date

May 2014 - April 2016

  Team

Principal Investigator - Associate Professor Davin Chor, Dept of Economics, NUS
Collaborator - Associate Professor Filipe R. Campante, Harvard Kennedy School.

  Outline

In this research project, we study how schooling decisions and the transmission of cultural attitudes related to “obedience” have co-evolved over time. The literature on East Asia’s economic development has identified the key role that human capital accumulation played in the rapid growth of the region’s economies. Related to this, it has often been further postulated that cultural predispositions also put East Asia in a good position to grow, as the prevailing value system in the region emphasized the importance of “consensus over conflict” to achieve national goals.

This project seeks first and foremost to investigate the relevance of this “culture hypothesis” empirically, by examining the rich information contained in cross-country socioeconomic surveys such as the World Values Survey. We seek to inject some nuance into this debate, by examining not just whether cultural attitudes have influenced development outcomes, but also whether the prevailing economic environment can shape the incentives for transmitting cultural attitudes towards “obedience”. Second, we aim to study from both theoretical and empirical perspectives how human capital accumulation can in turn shape the evolution of cultural attitudes. While the expansion of schooling would raise the productivity of the workforce, this may eventually come into conflict with attitudes towards obedience, especially as higher levels of education often foster more independent and creative thinking skills. We therefore aim to study this potentially rich interplay between schooling, cultural attitudes, and economic outcomes.

2. Title

“Human Capital, Labor Mobility and Regional Development in Southeast Asian Economies”

  Date

May 2014 - April 2017

  Team

Principal Investigator - Associate Professor Wen-Chi LIAO, Department of Real Estate, School of Design and Environment, NUS
Co-Investigator - Associate Professor Yuming FU, Department of Real Estate, School of Design and Environment, NUS

  Outline

The member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have had decades of solid economic growth. Although the Asian Financial Crisis and Global Financial Crisis struck growth of the nations, but healthy growth rates were quickly resumed. In association with the economic development is rapid urbanization. Labor migration drives urbanization in Southeast Asia (SEA), which experienced biggest increase among the Asia and Pacific economies in urban share of population between 1990 and 2010, from about 30% to over 46%. We propose to examine patterns and implications of labor migration in selective SEA countries, with an emphasis on mega-urban regions. Attention is given to patterns of labor mobility by different education attainment, gender and age cohorts; returns to labor mobility in turns of change of occupational/industrial structure; and impact of labor mobility on regional concentration of human capital and economic development.

3. Title

“Demographic Transitions in Asia: Impacts on Resource Allocation and Human Capital Investment”

  Date

May 2014 - April 2016

  Team

Principal Investigator – Dr Slesh Shrestha, Dept of Economics, NUS
Co-Investigator - Dr Emily Beam, Dept of Economics, NUS

  Outline

Dramatic changes in fertility have been an important factor in the economic and social trajectories of various Asian countries over the past half-century. Following the miracle growth of East-Asian economies, fuelled in part by the savings and labor force expansion of the “baby boom” generation, fertility rates in many countries have fallen below the replacement rate. Consequently, a growing number of Asian countries are now implementing policies to increase fertility. If effective, these policies and the resulting larger birth cohorts may bring opportunities for economic growth as well as strain on public resources and infrastructure, particularly in health and education. The impact of these constraints is most likely to affect poor households, whose children may fall even further behind. When governments are unable to reallocate resources effectively and fairly, changes in fertility rates, especially those that result in larger than expected birth cohorts, can have sizable and discriminatory early-life impacts, which may persist throughout individuals’ educational and labor market trajectories.

Measuring the causal impact of changes in overall fertility rates on outcomes is challenging because fertility may be correlated with any number of factors that also affect children’s health and education. In this study, we rely on exogenous variation induced by the Chinese lunar calendar – namely the increase in births that occurs in the Year of the Dragon, believed to be an auspicious year of birth. We concentrate on Asian countries with a large ethnically Chinese population, namely China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan. We estimate the short- and long-run impacts of increased cohort size on individual-level outcomes in each of these countries, examining direct effects on dragon-year children of Chinese ethnicity as well as spillover effects on other cohorts and ethnicities. We also examine how variable access to health and education infrastructure across different regions, can influence the impact of changes to fertility rates and cohort sizes, in terms of their overall as well as distributional impacts.    

4. Title

“Effect of Preschool subsidies on preschool Choice and Children’s Outcomes”

  Date

March 2015 - February 2018

  Team

Principal Investigator - Professor John Ham, Dept of Economics, NUS
Co-Investigator - Dr Jessica Pan, Dept of Economics, NUS
Collaborator - Dr Walter Theseira, Division of Economics, Nanyang Technological University

  Outline

In recent years, there has been active research suggesting that high quality preschool programs improve children’s readiness for school and life. Specifically US research suggests that these benefits include a reduction in the costs of later education, increased labour productivity and a reduction in crime. Furthermore, as these programs are predicted to have the largest impact for disadvantaged children, improving access to quality preschool programs has the potential to reduce social inequality. Somewhat surprisingly, East Asian countries rank relatively low in this area. For example, out of 45 countries and based on eight quality indicators of early childhood education, the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked South Korea ranked 10th, Hong Kong ranked 19th, Japan ranked 21st, Singapore ranked 29th and Taiwan ranked 30th. These rankings are striking as many of these East Asian countries are highly ranked in terms of the quality of their primary and secondary education such as Singapore, Taiwan and Japan rank surprisingly low in terms of the quality of their preschool education.

In this project we conduct a novel information treatment on a randomly selected group of disadvantaged Singapore households with young children. Specifically we will provide a random sample of families with information on their children’s preschooling options; we will also randomly select a second group of families as a control group. We will test whether the treatment i) induces treated households to enrol their children higher quality preschools and ii) raises cognitive and non-cognitive outcomes for children in the treated families.

5. Title

"Age of Retirement and Intergenerational Transfer in China and India: Implications for Human Capital and Labour Market"

  Date

April 2013 - March 2016

  Team

Principal Investigator - Prof Jean Yeung (Dept of Sociology and Asia Research Institute, NUS) 
Co-Investigator - Dr Qiushi Feng (Sociology Department, NUS)
International collaborators - Professor Zeng Yi and Dr. Wang Zanglian (Duke University and Peking University)

  Outline

The objectives of this proposed project are to (1) project the elderly care needs and cost for the working age population in terms of intergenerational transfer within household, and (2) project the trends of labor market structure based on different assumptions of fertility and retirement ages for various segments of the population in China and India from 2010 to 2050.

6. Title

"Women's Economic Progress, Social Norms and the Asian Marriage Flight"

  Date

April 2013 - March 2016

  Team

Principal Investigator - Dr Jessica Pan (Dept of Economics, NUS)
Collaborators - Marianne Bertrand (University of Chicago) and Patricia Cortes (Boston University)

  Outline

This project seeks to explore how the rapid rise in labor market opportunities for women has interacted with social norms to affect women’s marriage, education and labor supply decisions in the US, East Asia and around the world. Our starting point is the observation that while there has been a decline in marriage rates around the world, there is a large degree of heterogeneity in the marriage patterns by education. In North America and Western Europe, marriage rates have declined more sharply among the less educated. By contrast, in East Asia and Southern Europe, more educated women are the ones that opting out from marriage. We seek to understand what drives these differences in marriage patterns – in particular, the role of social norms (gender roles in the household and matching preferences), labor market structure and flexibility as well as differences in household production and the interplay between these factors. Our findings have implications for designing and evaluating public policies to address the gender gap and to promote marriage and fertility.

7. Title

"Human Capital in Asia: Modelling and Analysing Sub-regional Levels and Trends"

  Date

April 2013 - March 2016

  Team

Principal Investigator - Dr Leontine Alkema (Dept of Statistics & Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, NUS)
Collaborator - Dr Bilal Barakat (Vienna Institute of Demography & Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital)

  Outline

The aim of this project is to develop methods to reconstruct past and recent trends in educational attainment and parity progression for female birth cohorts in a population of interest, based on all available information from surveys and censuses in the form of birth histories as well as snapshots of age-specific parity and/or educational attainment distributions. First, we focus on the estimation and projection of cohort-age-specific parity progression rates and resulting parity distributions, and on the estimation and projection of cohort-age-specific educational attainment progression rates. We then combine all available information for the reconstruction and short-term projection of cohort education-parity trajectories.

The methods will be used to reconstruct past trends and obtain short-term projections for cohort-specific educational and parity progressions India and Indonesia, two large Asian countries with substantially different fertility and educational attainment transitions.

8. Title

"Multistate Migration Among Highly-skilled, Asian-born Migrants"

  Date

April 2013 - March 2016

  Team

Principal Investigator - Dr Anju Mary Paul (Yale-NUS College)

  Outline

There is increasing competition among high-income countries in the West and advancing countries in Asia to lure scientists in the STEM fields to their shores. This competition is of great policy significance to countries like Singapore that seek to develop their human capital resources so as to successfully transition to a knowledge-based economy. One of the issues such countries need to grapple with is how to attract the “best and the brightest” from other countries to their own shores. In order to address this issue, this research project focuses on Asian-born bioscientists who received their (post-)doctoral training in the West but then have to decide whether or not to return to work in Asia. Having already migrated at least once, from their home country to the West, this project will research the factors that might drive these Asian migrants with high levels of human capital and roots in two different countries to relocate themselves and their families to a third country. This study answers these questions by engaging in a multi-level, multi-sited, and multi-method study. At the macro-level, government data on the flows of Asian scientists to and from the US, Singapore, and Taiwan will be collected and analyzed to discern trends and patterns in these movements by field, nationality, degree of expertise and seniority. At the micro-level, individual-level qualitative data on the personal justifications these scientists use to support their multistate migration decisions will be collected. To that end, 150 in-depth interviews will also be conducted with Western-trained, Asian-born bioscientists in the US, Taiwan, and Singapore.