The global Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (Sylff) seeks to “identify and nurture leaders who will initiate action to transcend differences in nationality, language, ethnicity, religion, and political systems and who have the integrity, determination, and expertise to bring about positive social change in global society and the local community”.  Along these lines, the Sylff Program at EGC provides a number of Sylff Fellowship Awards each year to outstanding economics PhD students in development economics and trade at Yale. These awards are in the form of a scholarship to cover tuition and fees, a living stipend, and up to $2000 in funds for the purchase of data, for research travel or for other justified expenses related to the student's dissertation research.

The EGC also has a separate Sylff research fund for grants of up to $20,000 for PhD students in Economics at Yale for projects focused on international development and trade.  

Fellowship Award Process

Sylff fellowship awards will be allocated by the Sylff Faculty Selection Committee at EGC, which will convene each year to determine the recipients of these fellowships for the current academic year. The Sylff Fellows will also receive priority in the allocation of office space for graduate students at EGC. There are no applications for these awards, as fellows will be independently nominated by EGC faculty affiliates and then selected by the committee from among the current eligible PhD students, with consideration of current grade point average. The current SYLFF Faculty Selection Committee at EGC consists of:

Costas Arkolakis
Mushfiq Mobarak
Kaivan Munshi
Rohini Pande 

Instructions and forms for applying to a Sylff Research Grant are located here.

Covid-19 Relief

During the 2020-21 academic year, the Sylff Association Secretariat has provided Covid-19 relief to all past Sylff fellows at Yale who are still current students in the form of emergency funds to support living expenses. These awardees are indicated in the table below with an asterisk. The EGC community thanks the Sylff Association for this act of generosity, supporting students during a time of crisis.

Current Sylff Fellows

The following Yale PhD students have been selected as SYLFF fellows in the 2020-21 academic year in recognition of their excellence in the areas of development economics and trade.

Julian Aramburu (2020-21)

Julian AramburuJulian Aramburu's research agenda includes projects in labor, development, and agricultural economics. In his dissertation, he studies the effects that different types of labor market policies have on workers from under-represented groups. In one of his projects, joint with Noriko Amano-Patino and Zara Contractor, he analyzes how the most widespread employer-based affirmative action regulation in the US impacts the employment prospects and earnings of minority workers. To do so, they leverage confidential, restricted-access US Census data and other administrative datasets in a quasi-experimental study of firms that are subject to the regulation. In another project, Aramburu partners with The World Bank and two training centers in Argentina and Colombia to study the effectiveness of coding bootcamps for women. They use a randomized control trial to measure the impacts of the training on women’s skills and entry into a career in technology.

Before joining Yale, Aramburu worked for three years as an impact evaluation consultant in the Rural Development unit at the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). During his time at the IADB, he implemented experimental and quasi-experimental research designs to investigate how agricultural programs increased the incomes and welfare of farmers in different settings across Latin America and the Caribbean.

Nathan Barker (2018-19, 2020-21)

Portrait of Nate BarkerNate Barker's research focuses on migration and social protection programs, primarily in Sub-Saharan Africa. His dissertation examines the relationship between gender, motives for migration, and labor productivity. In particular, motivated by the facts that (a) wages are consistently higher in urban than rural areas in Ghana, and (b) men on average earn more than women, even after controlling for observable characteristics, he studies whether marriage-based migration on the part of women leads to them being less likely to sort to where they would be most productive. He does so by exploiting variation between ethnic groups in the norms of whether or not women remain in their home communities at the time of marriage or migrate to their husband's community.

Lucas Conwell (2020-21)

Lucas ConwellLucas Conwell's work is at the intersection of spatial economics, macro, and development.  Currently, Conwell is working on the growth and welfare consequences of urbanization and structural change in developing countries, in particular the different forms and sectoral composition of cities in Brazil.  Other projects involve the ability of retraining programs to aid workers whose jobs are threatened by international trade as well as the extent and consequences of car orientation in large cities worldwide.

Rodrigo Guerrero Castaneda (2020-21)

Portrait of Rodrigo Guerrero CastanedaRodrigo Guerrero Castaneda's research focuses on the economics of the family and aging in developing countries. Lately, Castaneda has been studying the determinants of old-age support provided by each sibling to an elderly parent using Indonesian data. By focusing on the transfer decision of adult siblings, Castaneda provides a new lens to examine factors driving parental fertility choices and human capital investment across children. This work also speaks to the design of old-age pensions and the interaction between private and public old-age support. In a related project, Castaneda studies the introduction of a targeted non-contributory pension in Peru and its impact on child-to-parent transfers with a focus on gender.

Ryungha Oh (2020-21)

Ryungha OhRyungha Oh's  research interests lie in spatial economics and labor economics. In particular, she focuses on the distribution of consumption amenities within cities.  She develops a quantitative model of internal city structure with micro-founded agglomeration forces. For example, a boom in one sector can bring positive externality to another sector in the same area by attracting more consumers. We can use this framework to explain why the consumption amenities are concentrated and understand the role of geography in it. Oh's other project tries to understand why the urban premium is much larger for high-skilled workers compared to low-skilled workers. She argue that more diverse occupations in large cities disproportionately benefit high-skilled workers who are more sensitive to the match quality between firms and workers.

Antonia Paredes Haz (2019-20, 2020-21)

Portrait AntoniaAntonia Paredes Haz's research focuses on gender and politics. Currently, she is working on two projects in Chile.  Haz is studying candidates' selection in politics differentiated by gender. For understanding this,  she is using a unique dataset on test scores for college admissions in Chile (Nielson, 2020). The results so far show that for candidates, women have better GPA than men, but lower scores in math. For elected candidates, the math gap between men and women disappears and the GPA gap remains, so for elected politicians women look better in terms of test scores than men. I am also using a source of exogenous variation to understand selection, a gender quota implemented in 2017, to help me understand better the gender perspective in selection of politicians. The second project Haz is working on is an information campaign about gender parity in elections. This project aims to study how much people are willing to vote for women once they understand a gender quota that will be implemented in an election.

Sylff Alumni on Campus

Anisha Grover (2019-20)

Anisha Grover portraitAnisha Grover's research focuses on supply chains in developing country markets, particularly those related to agriculture. One objective is to understand the role of intermediaries in different stages of the supply chain and trace their evolution with market size. Another objective is to understand the role of policy in ensuring access to products, from the producer to the consumer. For this purpose, Grover is studying the Indian fertilizer subsidy policy, how it affects fertilizer firm behaviour and ultimately the input usage at the farmer level.

Viraj Jorapur (2019-20)

Portrait VirajViraj Jorapur's research interests lie in documenting differential parental investments in young children by their sex in India and understanding their determinants. In particular, Jorapur focuses on health investments by parents which differentially affect outcomes in their children. Poor health in children is widely documented in India with female children being more adversely affected. In his work, Jorapur focuses on neonatal mortality outcomes and tries to understand how birth spacing between children affects this probability. Through his work, Jorapur hopes to contribute towards designing policies to reduce the incidence of adverse health and sex disparities between the observed health outcomes of children in India.

Martin Mattsson (2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19)

portrait of Martin MattssonMartin Mattsson's research focuses on how formal and informal institutions shape individual behavior and socio-economic outcomes. Mattsson has two ongoing field experiments in Bangladesh, one studying how performance scorecards can change the behavior of government bureaucrats and another about the effects of village courts. He is also researching the effects of the #MeToo movement on the reporting of sexual crimes to the police.

Kritika Narula (2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19)

Portrait of Kritika NarulaKritika Narula uses techniques in econometrics and microeconomics to address questions related to International Development, with a special focus on education. In her current research, Narula studies the impact of a large and unique public policy in India, known as the Right to Education (RTE) Act, on the learning outcomes of students. The Right to Education Act is an Act of the Parliament of India that came into force on April 1, 2010, which makes education a fundamental right of every child between the ages of 6 and 14 by guaranteeing free admission in a neighborhood school. Using large household surveys and administrative data, Narula first presents a rich set of stylized facts about enrollment, learning outcomes, as well as school infrastructure in rural India. She next develops a simple model of school and student behavior that helps rationalize the patterns in the data and disentangle the mechanisms responsible for the observed trends in learning levels. 

Siu Yuat Wong (2018-2019)

Photo of Siu Yuat WongPolicymakers in developing countries are increasingly interested in utilizing policies that encourage temporary migration as a means of alleviating poverty and raising overall long-term economic welfare. The costly sacrifice of time away from family and loved ones by migrating parents is often justified with the sole objective of improving the livelihoods and educational prospects of their left-behind children. Siu Yat Wong's project addresses the question of how temporary migration impacts the educational outcomes of these left-behind children by using a structural model. This model will be estimated using a novel dataset he will be collecting from the Philippines.

Jonathan Hawkins (2017-18, 2018-19)

Portrait of Jonathan HawkinsBank branches contribute to economic development through both financial inclusion, which helps households weather negative shocks, and intermediation, whereby banks move capital to wherever the returns are highest. When banks choose where to open branches, they consider only their private profit and do not fully internalize these effects, leading to insufficient entry in rural markets. Banks also do not internalize the negative effect of entry on their competitors, which may cause excess entry in well-served urban markets. This paper characterizes the efficiency of the Indian branch network along three dimensions: Financial inclusion, deposit mobilization, and bank profits. Jonathan Hawkins considers the effect of a 2011 reform requiring banks to open 25% of new branches in unbanked villages on the efficiency of entry, and show how this type of policy can trade off the three dimensions above compared to a Pareto efficient benchmark. 

To do this, Hawkins develops and estimates a model of deposit demand and bank entry using detailed new administrative data. In a developing country with many unbanked markets, this is particularly challenging because markets with banks are highly selected: Conditional on observing deposits, all relevant characteristics are correlated with the unobservable demand shocks. Hawkins uses the full model to compute these conditional moments directly, and jointly estimate the demand and supply parameters. He finds that nearly half of urban markets exhibit excess entry. By eliminating these excess branches, over 6,000 additional villages could be banked without reducing total profits, with a 1% net increase in the deposit base. The 2011 reform led to a Pareto improvement relative to free entry, but does not achieve efficiency due to limited ability to target urban markets with and without excess entry. 

Eduardo Fraga (2016-17, 2017-18)

Photo of Eduardo FragaEduardo Fraga studies the connection between international trade integration and the spatial concentration of population and economy activity within countries. Using modern quantitative spatial tools, Fraga revisits the hypothesis that trade openness may lead to spatial deconcentration because it reduces the relative importance of a country's main cities as sources of goods and as consumer markets. His modernized framework to nest both this mechanism and another one, namely that differential access to international markets implies that domestic regions may be affected differently by trade liberalization, which can either enhance or dampen the deconcentrating effect of trade depending on the country's internal geography. Fraga estimates/calibrates the model using real-world worldwide data from 1975-2005 and uses it to perform counterfactual exercises which attempt to answer the following question: how much of the observed changes in countries' degree of spatial concentration can be accounted for concomitant changes in international trade costs? The (tentative) results suggest that changes in trade costs have had only a secondary role in altering countries' internal structures during this time period.

Gaurav Chiplunkar (2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19)

Photo of Gaurav ChiplunkarGaurav Chiplunkar is currently an Assistant Professor at Darden GSB (University of Virginia), having completed my PhD in Economics from Yale University in 2019. Chiplunkar's research broadly lies at the intersection of development and labor economics and consists of two broad themes: first, understanding the impact of industrial policies on firms, and particularly on small businesses and women-owned enterprises; second, frictions in the labor market that constrain job search of workers, and hiring practices of firms and the role of technology in mitigating these barriers, like for example, the role of online job portals in understanding firm-worker preferences, the role of Whatsapp in helping job-seekers share opportunities in the labor market, etc. A secondary research agenda examines the evolution of traditional institutions in India over time.

Full listing of Sylff fellows since 2003

2020 - 2021 Julian Aramburu
Nathan Barker*
Lucas Conwell
Rodrigo Guerrero Castaneda
Antonia Paredes-Haz*
Ryungha Oh
2019 - 2020 Anisha Grover*
Viraj Jorapur*
Antonia Paredes-Haz*
2018 - 2019 Nathan Barker*
Tatjana Kleineberg
Gaurav Chiplunkar
Martin Mattsson*
Kritika Narula*
Siu Yuat Wong*
2017 - 2018 Gaurav Chiplunkar
Eduardo Fraga*
Jonathan Hawkins*
Tatjana Kleineberg
Martin Mattsson*
Kritika Narula*
2016 - 2017 Gaurav Chiplunkar
Taha Choukhmane
Eduardo Fraga*
Tatjana Kleineberg
Martin Mattsson*
Kritika Narula*
Pengpeng Xiao
2015 - 2016 Taha Choukhman
Tatjana Kleineberg
Meredith Startz
Hannah Trachtman
Jeffrey Weaver
Jaya Wen
2014 - 2015 Shameel Ahmad
Sabrin Beg
Alex Cohen
Julia Garlick
Amanda Gregg
Xiang Ma
Tommaso Porzio
Ana Reynoso
Gabriella Santangelo
Jakob Schneebacher
YuJung Whang
2013 - 2014 Ana Reynoso
Jakob Schneebacher
Meredith Startz
Jeffrey Weaver
2012 - 2013 Shameel Ahmad
Sabrin Beg
Julia Garlick
Corina Mommaerts
Emily Nix
Gabriella Santangelo
2011 - 2012 Cristina Tello-Trilo
Xiang Ma
Amanda Gregg
Alex Cohen
Jamin Speer
2010 - 2011 Muneeza Alam
Treb Allen
Anant Nyshadham
Jaqueline Oliviera
Xiaoxue Zhao
2009 - 2010 James Choy
Camilo Dominguez
Snaebjorn Gunnsteinsson
Melanie Morten
Priscila Souza
2008 - 2009 Reena Badiani
Gharad Bryan
Federico Guiterrez
Rachel Heath
Vis Taraz
2007 - 2008 Achyuta Adhvaryu
Prashant Bharadwaj
James Fenske
2006 - 2007 Bruno Falcao
Pinar Keskin
Daniel Rozenblum
Mir Salim
2005 - 2006 Madhia Afzal
Santosh Anagol
Christian Awuku-Budu
Frank Limbrock
Shing-Yi Wang
2004 - 2005 Lori Beaman
Amit Khandelwal
Christopher Ksoll
Jeremy Magruder
2003 - 2004 Pei-Yu Lo
Siddharth Sharma
Tavneet Suri