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. To learn more about Sylff research grants, visit: EGC Research Grants for PhD Students
Fellowship Award Process
Sylff fellowship awards are allocated by the Sylff Faculty Selection Committee at EGC, which convenes 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:
Current Sylff Fellows
The following Yale PhD students have been selected as Sylff fellows in the 2022-23 academic year in recognition of their excellence in the areas of development economics and trade.
Jingyi Cui (2022-2023)
Jingyi Cui is a third year PhD student examining remote services trade, where workers provide online services such as data analytics to foreign firms. The ability to export services without the physical movement of persons or goods produces exciting opportunities, especially for workers in developing countries. At the same time, traditional trade frictions such as information problems still exist when trade occurs online. These frictions can curtail the growth of remote services trade.
In one project, Jingyi studies how firms search for international workers to complete service tasks on an online matching platform. Search frictions can make firms reluctant to hire foreign workers and can differentially affect workers depending on their backgrounds. She examines how a particular platform feature can ease these frictions and believes that lessons from this platform have broad applications in the services trade. Additionally, using data from a private company that helps firms with legal and payroll challenges in hiring international workers, Jingyi and fellow Yale PhD student Samuel Solomon analyze hiring patterns in this international labor market, which they hope can help shape policies on global remote work.
Nghiem Huynh (2022-2023)
Nghiem Huynh is a fifth year PhD student interested in economic development and spatial economics. His current research examines the impact of policies on the distribution of economic activity within developing countries, with a particular focus on Vietnam. Using firm and migration data, Nghiem examines place-based policies designed to stimulate development in underprivileged areas of Vietnam. In addition, Nghiem has developed a dynamic model to understand the tradeoffs of these policies and estimate their welfare effect. In another project, Nghiem explores the relationship between the recent rise in the sex ratio at birth in Vietnam and the country's trade policy with the United States.
Jack Liang (2022-2023)
Jack Liang is a fourth year PhD student studying macroeconomics and trade, with a focus on firm growth and dynamics and spatial policies. He is working on a project studying how management and organizational capital can mediate the spread of productivity across a firm's plants. Jack uses confidential US Census microdata to document that firms with better measured management are more able to add plants and spread these plants further in space. Using quantitative spatial models to highlight the implications of the accumulation of this form of organizational capital on the firm's decision to establish new plants, he is finding that the firms most eager to grow are those that are least constrained by their current managerial abilities.
Additionally, in a joint project with another Sylff Alum Wei Xiang, Jack is studying how simultaneous labor and product market distortions in the form of markups and markdowns can jointly influence the set of firms operating in a market, as well as local welfare. They find that firm entry in a non-tradable sector (e.g., a local service sector such as restaurants) can have strong pro-competitive effects on both the local product and local labor markets. However, the impact of firm entry in the tradable sector (e.g., manufacturing) will have its product market response dampened by inter-regional trade.
Christina Qiu (2022-2023)
Christina Qiu is a third year PhD student and an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. Her research focuses on trade and spatial economics. She received a B.A. in Applied Mathematics from Harvard College and an MSc in Global Governance and Diplomacy from Oxford University as a Clarendon Scholar. Her specific interests include spatial correlation, spatial risk-sharing, and technology adoption in developing countries. In one of her projects, Christina examines the impact of mobile money adoption on village insurance networks in Tanzania. She enfolds spatial correlation of location productivity shocks into a model of labor search. Mobile money adoption facilitates the formation of remote remittance networks, allowing households to smooth income shocks without reliance on village mechanisms. She finds evidence for the crowding out of village insurance consistent with moderately positive selection into mobile money adoption.
Matthew Schwartzman (2021-2022, 2022-2023)
Matthew Schwartzman is a fourth year PhD student examining why micro-enterprises are prevalent within developing economies. Most recently, he has focused on the retail sector. In contrast to the United States, where a large share of sales take place in superstores like Wal-Mart, many retailers in developing countries do not operate out of a store. Instead, they sell goods from vehicles or portable stalls. These small-scale modes of operation offer firms mobility and flexibility but limit their ability to build a customer base. His work asks if certain features of consumer demand make small-scale retail more viable in impoverished countries than in wealthy countries, or if, instead, these small firms represent "subsistence entrepreneurship" in the absence of other opportunities.
Jillian Stallman (2022-2023)
Jillian Stallman is a third year PhD student intrigued by the intersections between development, political economy, and the environment. She's currently working on projects related to the motivations behind international accords in general and focusing on solar geoengineering. These projects are part of a broader investigation into how foreign actors influence development elsewhere. Her current research draws on game and network theory, employing a variety of data sources ranging from climate simulations to trade flows to machine-learning analyses of the text of fishing treaties.
Yan Yan (2022-2023)
Yan Yan is a fourth year PhD studying international trade and environmental economics. Yan examines how free riding makes it impossible to shut down leakage channels in an integrated global economy. Since it is difficult to fully analyze the overall effects of carbon policies, Yan instead focuses on the construction sector which requires steel and cement, the two top emitters, as its inputs. He studies the policy implications, considering various carbon leakage channels and industry dynamics. In another ongoing project, Yan and coauthors are studying the effect of international knowledge diffusion and import competition from trade in the context of the manufacturing sector in China.
Sylff Alumni on Campus
Lucas Conwell (2020-21, 2021-22)
Lucas Conwell's work is at the intersection of spatial economics, macro, and development. Currently, Conwell is working on understanding informal transit in South Africa: where and when minibus taxis choose to operate, how they respond to government interventions, and their contribution to overall welfare. 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, 2021-22)
Rodrigo Guerrero Castaneda's research focuses on the economics of the family and aging in developing countries. Lately, Guerrero Castaneda has been studying mortality of a primary earner as a source of financial risk among low-income families. Using data from India and Indonesia, he explores the inefficiencies that result from informal mechanisms aimed at mitigating mortality risk. A common informal insurance agreement is one based on filial responsibility. This may work well in most cases, yet it is likely to fail in the case of a premature death, especially if the children are still school aged. In a related project, Guerrero Castaneda studies the effects of intergenerational co-residence norms on children’s spatial mobility and education.
Antonia Paredes-Haz (2019-20, 2020-21, 2021-22)
Antonia Paredes-Haz's research focuses on gender and politics. By combining detailed administrative data with a randomized information campaign about gender parity in elections, she studies the effect of information about gender quotas on voter choice. The information campaign was implemented in May of 2021, and the results show that information increases the votes for female candidates, with heterogeneous effects for different parties. These results suggest that the effect of the intervention depends on the voter’s gender preference. Currently, she is working on implementing a survey to disentangle the mechanisms behind these effects.
Ryungha Oh (2020-21)
Ryungha 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.
Siu Yuat Wong (2018-2019)
Policymakers 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.
Wei Xiang (2021-22)
Wei Xiang studies macro and trade, with a particular interest in growth and inequality. One of his projects tries to understand how income distribution is affected by skill-biased technical change when human capital accumulation is endogenous and subject to idiosyncratic risk. With a heterogenous-agent-continuous-time model, we highlight that skill biased technology change and public education have non-monotonic effects on different wage percentiles. Motivated by the rapid growth of Asian tigers and China, another project studies how multinational production and international trade can generate long-run economic growth through technology diffusion. Developing a quantitative framework and bringing it to data, we quantify the contribution of trade and foreign investment liberalization to past and future growth.
Full listing of Sylff fellows since 2003
|2021 - 2022||
|2020 - 2021||Julian Aramburu
Rodrigo Guerrero Castaneda
|2019 - 2020||Anisha Grover*
|2018 - 2019||Nathan Barker*
Siu Yuat Wong*
|2017 - 2018||Gaurav Chiplunkar
|2016 - 2017||Gaurav Chiplunkar
|2015 - 2016||Taha Choukhman
|2014 - 2015||Shameel Ahmad
|2013 - 2014||Ana Reynoso
|2012 - 2013||Shameel Ahmad
|2011 - 2012||Cristina Tello-Trilo
|2010 - 2011||Muneeza Alam
|2009 - 2010||James Choy
|2008 - 2009||Reena Badiani
|2007 - 2008||Achyuta Adhvaryu
|2006 - 2007||Bruno Falcao
|2005 - 2006||Madhia Afzal
|2004 - 2005||Lori Beaman
|2003 - 2004||Pei-Yu Lo