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:
Instructions and forms for applying to a Sylff Research Grant are located here.
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.
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.
John Finlay (2021-22)
John Finlay is interested in the intersection of international trade and macroeconomics. John's job market paper studies the relative importance of credit constraints across exporting and non-exporting firms. By combining a natural experiment in India with a quantitative model, he shows that credit constraints bind for many exporters but relatively few non-exporters, and therefore that exporters are typically inefficiently small. John uses the model to study policies which encourage reallocation towards exporting firms.
Anisha Grover (2019-20, 2021-22)
Anisha Grover’s research focuses on agricultural markets and associated policies. Her current research project tries to understand the effect of fertilizer subsidy policies on farmer welfare. Such policies are common in many developing countries but their welfare implications are ambiguous. She uses Indian data to analyze the mechanisms by which government policy affects fertilizer firms and ultimately the farmers.
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.
Matthew Schwartzman (2021-22)
Matthew Schwartzman's research examines how pervasive features of developing countries shape and are shaped by macroeconomic outcomes. In one project, he uses data from the Philippines to study the influence of kinship-based risk-sharing arrangements on internal migrants’ choice of destination. By estimating gravity equations, Matthew shows that these arrangements alter the allocation of labor across space. A separate project focuses on the large informal sector and small average firm size in developing economies. Matthew considers barriers to firm expansion and labor market frictions, and asks how these affect the economy when workers can choose to become informally self-employed.
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.
Sylff Alumni on Campus
Julian Aramburu (2020-21)
Julian 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)
Nate 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.
Viraj Jorapur (2019-20)
Viraj 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.
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.
Jonathan Hawkins (2017-18, 2018-19)
Bank 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.
Full listing of Sylff fellows since 2003
|2021 - 2022||Lucas Conwell
Rodrigo Guerrero Castaneda
|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