The Department of Economics, FASS and the Civil Service College (CSC) recently organised a two-day conference on “”Evidence-based Public Policy Using Administrative Data” attended by almost 280 participants. This marks the first time an academic institution and a government agency have come together to provide a platform for international and local academics to meet with Singapore public policymakers to explore the untapped possibilities of using administrative data to make sensible, informed policy decisions that are backed by robust scientific evidence.
The welcome address was given by Guest-of-Honour, Prof Ho Teck Hua, Vice President (Research Strategy), and Tan Chin Tuan Centennial Professor, NUS, and was followed by keynote presentations by Dr Victor Lavy (William Haber Chaired Professor of Economics at Hebrew University of Jerusalem), Dr Zhang Junsen (Wei Lun Professor of Economics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong) and Dr Francis Kramarz (Director of CREST-INSEE). The presentations were on a wide range of research which utilised administrative data. Amongst other topics, the speakers demonstrated how increasing the budget allocated per class of students could have a positive impact on academic achievement and behaviour in Israel; and shed light on how population control policies affected household saving patterns in China.
“Administrative data provides a wealth of data points to evaluate and develop new policy. With its typically larger sample size and inherent longitudinal structure, administrative data enables researchers to follow individuals over time and address many critical policy questions. This is the first time that the NUS Department of Economics is partnering the Civil Service College to organise such a conference and we look forward to continuing this exchange of ideas between policymakers and members of academia,” commented Prof Ho Teck Hua.
Amongst the international speakers present, representatives from the Department of Economics included Dr Wong Wei Kang, who presented his paper on “Does an Additional Year of Schooling Improve Skills in Reading, Mathematics and Science? Regression Discontinuity due to Imprecise Control over Birthdates”, which was authored together with Khaw Kaimin, a recent Honours graduate of the Department. The other representative of the Department was Dr Zhang Wei who looked at how quality disclosures affect the behaviour health care providers in “Are Two Report Cards Better than One? The Case of Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) Surgery and Patient Scoring”.