Tier 1 Grant Awardees, FY2023-24, Round 1

Congratulations to the Tier 1 Grant Awardees for FY2023-24, Round 1!

Principal Investigator

Dr Juwon Seo (Economics)


Handling temporal dependence of time series in Economics and Finance

This project includes three papers, tentatively titled:
(A) Copula filter, with Yunjin Choi.
(B) Functional data inference in a parametric quantile model applied to lifetime income curves, with Jin Seo Cho and Peter Phillips.
(C) Pricing kernel irregularity and option portfolio selection, with Brendan Beare.

(A) Copula filter
We develop a novel filter which can impose various types of linear and nonlinear dependence to data based on copula theories. The filter takes advantage of broad applicability and flexibility of copula vine algorithm. In the first step, we estimate the marginal distributions and the pairwise copulas of data. In the second step, we use these estimates to generate pseudo data by replacing true distribution with these estimates. As applications, we show how the copula filter can be useful for randomization tests for distributional equality, and certain conditional independence tests such as Granger causality tests.

(B) Functional data inference in a parametric quantile model applied to lifetime income curves
A parametric quantile function estimation procedure is developed for functional data. The approach involves minimizing the sum of integrated functional distances that measure the functional gap between each functional observation and the quantile curve in terms of the check function. The procedure is validated under both correctly specified and incorrectly specified models by allowing for the presence of nuisance parameter estimation effects. Testing methodology is developed using Wald, Lagrange multiplier, and quasi-likelihood ratio procedures in this functional data setting. Finite sample performance is assessed using simulations and the methodology is applied to study how lifetime income paths differ between genders and among different education levels using continuous work history samples. The methodology enables the analysis of full career income paths with temporal and possibly persistent dependence structures embodied in the observations. The results capture both gender and education effects but these empirical differences are shown to be mitigated upon rescaling to take account of lifetime experience and job mobility.

(C) Pricing kernel irregularity and option portfolio selection
A large empirical literature documents pricing anomalies in market index options. Data contradict the theoretical prediction that the pricing kernel – that is, the ratio between the option-implied distribution of the market payoff next period and its physical distribution – ought to be decreasing and log-convex. Violations of the decreasing (respectively, log-convexity) property imply the existence of option portfolios with returns first-order (respectively, second-order) stochastically dominating those of the market index. In this paper, we show how a mixed integer linear programming formulation may be used to construct such stochastically dominant portfolios, and investigate their performance empirically under a range of assumptions about transaction costs. Our findings have implications for option portfolio choice, and for extracting information about market index returns from option prices.

LIU Chang

Dr Chang Liu (Economics)

Macroeconomics at the States: Empirical Analyses of the Macroeconomy Using Novel Regional Data Sets

We construct novel data sets on key economic indicators at the US state level dating from 1800s and use them to investigate classical macro questions from a regional and historical perspective. In particular, we study i) the role of banking and innovation in promoting economic growth, especially in the early years of industrialization in the US, ii) the patterns of convergence and divergence of post-war productivity across US states, and iii) the importance of human capital in explaining the heterogeneous rates of structural transformation across regions, in contrast with existing aggregate models of structural transformation.

serene TAN

A/P Serene Tan

2024 Asia-Pacific Search and Matching Workshop

This is the second Asia-Pacific Search and Matching Workshop, and it will be held in Singapore in August 2024. This workshop welcomes economists in the Asia-Pacific region working in all areas related to search and matching, including labor search, monetary search, housing search, and marriage search.

william nathaniel green

Dr W. Nathaniel Green (Geography)

Impact Investing for Sustainable Development in Southeast Asia

Through an examination of impact investing in Southeast Asia, this project will provide a novel explanation of how this form of development financing influences social-environmental change. It will significantly advance knowledge of the relationship between impact investing and sustainable development by answering:

1) What is the structure of the impact investing market in Southeast Asia?

2) How does the discursive framing of impact affect investment decisions?

3) How has impact investing transformed livelihoods and environments? The PI will develop an innovative, qualitative methodology to carry out research in Singapore and Cambodia, where the PI has a decade of research experience.


Prof Elaine Ho (Geography)

(Re)conceptualising Ageing and Social Networks

Researchers have argued that strong social networks can enhance the well-being of older adults. Such discussions tend to naturalise discourses linking social networks with “ageing in place” and emphasise kinship and neighbourliness, when the ties of older adults’ may stretch beyond the neighbourhood to encapsulate other relationships. This workshop on “(Re)conceptualising Ageing and Social Networks” aims to challenge assumptions about ageing and social networks, paving the path for new thinking on how social networks feature in the lives of older adults. The workshop will contribute to multidisciplinary theory-building and showcase diverse methodological approaches used to study ageing and social networks.

Dr Guo Quan Seng (History)


Empire, Race and Chinese Commercial Expansion in Southeast Asia, 1870-1970s

This project historicizes the emergence of racial discourse in Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore) in the context of regional Chinese commerce expansion from 1870 to the 1970s. It hypothesizes that the “ubiquitous” and “exploitative” Chinese trader served in colonial and indigenous discourse as the racial Other against which autarkic nationalist markets were imagined for Malaya and Indonesia. Departing from the current scholarship’s focus on anti-colonial/European struggles, I locate the production of racial sentiments in the emerging knowledge structures of surrounding the “economy” and the “market.” The primary repositories for this project are the colonial archives, nationalist newspapers and post-Independence government records.

A/P Maria Kozhevnikov (Psychology)

Cognitive and physiological bases of visual processing in the metaverse

The project will reduce the gap between the rapid development of metaverse technologies and psychology research on whether the human visual system can meet the demands of the metaverse media. We will examine how individuals process visual information in the metaverse and how it affects their cognitive, physiological, and emotional states. We will design a battery of 3D immersive visual ability measurements and investigate how individuals of different visual abilities interact with the information presented in the metaverse. By recording behavioral and electrocardiographic (EKG) data, we will also explore the processes of underlying 3D immersive video game playing in the metaverse.

gerard sasges

A/P Gerard Sasges (Southeast Asian Studies)

Power Flows: Hydroelectricity in the Global Cold War

Hydropower is the most widely used renewable source of energy and a crucial part of efforts to decarbonize energy production. Much of the world’s hydropower infrastructure was built as part of Cold War projects of development aid and technical assistance. Our project, “Power Flows” will bring together historians of technology to trace the Cold War past of today’s energy politics. The project asks how hydropower projects were part of the ideological and physical “technopolitics” of the Cold War, how they reshaped local societies and ecologies, and how these infrastructures and their politics are implicated in emerging energy grids.

A/P Anne Raffin (Sociology and Anthropology)

Reflecting on the concept of Citizenship in the Context of French Colonialism in India from 1870 to 1962

This project in historical sociology aims at reflecting on the concept of citizenship by studying his application within a specific site: French colonial enclaves in India – from the 1870s when male Indians got citizenship’ s rights to the end of French colonialism in 1962.
Roughly, there are two approaches on citizenship: the normative theories on citizens’ required rights and duties, and empirical theories describing how citizens secured such rights.
A landmark work was Acts of Citizenship (2008) which analyses citizenship in terms of status, habitus, and acts. Looking at acts of citizenship in the colonial context, I argue that these acts cannot be understood in a colonial environment without bringing Marx Weber’s idea of the state as monopolizing the means of legitimate violence (physical forces and the laws) to curtail local citizens’ rights as well as the cultural environment of French India.
To support my argument, I will search for more historical cases from the colonial French archives.

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