Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund
The Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund was launched in 1987 by the Nippon Foundation (formerly, The Japan Shipbuilding Industry Foundation or The Sasakawa Foundation). The goal of the SYLFF Program is to nurture future leaders who will overcome geopolitical, religious, ethnic, and cultural boundaries and actively participate in the world community for peace and the well-being of humankind. Under the SYLFF Program, The Nippon Foundation has endowed one million dollars to each institutions of higher learning, from which fellowships are awarded to graduate students enrolled in social sciences and humanities fields. To date, endowments of one million dollars each have been presented to 69 universities and consortia in 44 countries. About 15,000 students have received fellowships since the launch of the program in 1987. These SYLFF Fellows have been active in a diversity of fields following their graduation. The Economics Department at the University of Michigan is honored to be a recipient of the SYLFF endowment.
As part of the SYLFF program, The Economics Department offers two different types of fellowships for students. The first is used as a recruiting tool for incoming Ph.D. students. This fellowship offers students tuition, healthcare and a generous stipend to support them during the first full year as a graduate student in Economics. The second SYLFF Fellowship supports students who have reached Ph.D. candidacy. This one-term funding opportunity provides tuition, stipend and health insurance to provide a semester of dedicated research time to these students. Priority is given to students who are in the final stages of their dissertation research and plan to go on the job market within the next year. A competition is held for both Fall and Winter semesters. For more information on this please contact Mary Braun.
Current SYLFF Fellows
Vybhavi Balasundharam is a Ph.D. student in Economics at the University of Michigan with research interests in Development Economics and International Economics. She is interested in policy – oriented research. Prior to joining the Department of Economics, she received her BA in Economics from The University of Western Ontario.
Max Risch is a graduate student in economics at the University of Michigan with interests in economic development and labor economics. Primary research interests in these areas include local responses to national redistributive policies and perceived poverty/inequality and human capital investment. Prior to starting his Ph.D., Max worked as a NBER research assistant and served in the Peace Corps in Latin America. Max received a BA in political science from University of Michigan and a MPA in international economic policy from Columbia University.
Pieter DeVlieger holds a Master in Business Engineering from the University of Leuven and an MSc Economics from University College London. In between he worked as a research assistant at the London School of Economics, a quantitative analyst for the ONDD in Brussels, and as a freelance data consultant and programmer. His current fields of interest are econometrics and labor economics, particularly topics addressing wage inequalities and intergenerational mobility. Other interests include computational methods and programming.
Dimitrije Ruzic Dimitrije’s research interests span international trade and macroeconomics. In particular, he seeks to understand how distortions in domestic labor and capital markets affect the flows of goods abroad. Through the support of the Sasakawa Fellowship in his first year, he was able to focus on mastering the economic theory and the econometric tools that comprise the building blocks of his future work. In the process, the fellowship facilitated his preparation both for tackling more advanced coursework and for building and estimating models of his own.
Bryan Stuart Bryan Stuart entered the University of Michigan Ph.D. economics program in the fall of 2011. He received a B.A. in mathematics and B.S. in business (specializing in economics) from Indiana University. His research interests span labor, public, and urban economics. Prof. David Albouy and Bryan Stuart study equilibrium household location decisions in the United States in “Urban Population and Amenities.” In joint work with Evan Taylor, he explores the role of social networks in determining location decisions during the Great Migration of the twentieth century. With Eric Chyn, he studies how West German firms and markets responded to immigration-induced labor supply shocks.
Michael Zabek Michael’s primary interests involve how individuals and families make lasting decisions in their personal and financial lives, and how those decisions can drive inequality. Recently, he has begun research working on a project examining how workers trade off connections to family with opportunities for higher wages in areas further away from family members. He is interested in how these connections differ across educational and income levels, possibly leading less-educated workers to accept lower wages than they otherwise would. The SYLFF award has given Michael valuable assistance in his first year that has allowed me to focus on my coursework and learn skills that will help him to further develop his research. He is very grateful for the support the Fellowship has provided.
Yun Chen Yun’s research compares mortgage markets across different countries using household-level data. Residential mortgage reforms constitute an important part of the US financial reforms after the 2008 crisis, embodied in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Motivated by part of the reforms that attempt to restrict the specific forms a mortgage could take, her research aims to provide answers to the following questions: First, how do different legal institutions in different countries such as mortgage interest deduction rules and foreclosure laws impact the families’ home buying decisions? Second, how do mortgage choices relate to the households’ characteristics and their expectations about the key macroeconomic variables? Third, whether the formality of different mortgages is decisive for those households that have got into financial trouble as observed in the data? The potential research outcomes would improve the current understanding on households’ home financing decisions and an international comparison would hopefully lead to better policy-making.
Sreyoshi Das In macroeconomic forecasting, we often have data sets with large number of series but not nearly as many time period observations. In the past few years, there has been rising interest in forecasting macroeconomic variables using such data sets. Large scale models like factor models or large scale Bayesian VARs are increasingly used for forecasting in macroeconomics. While factor models or structural VARs augmented with factors (FAVAR) rely on extraction of a few factors that can explain most variation in the series in the data, large scale Bayesian VARS apply Bayesian shrinkage to analyze large data sets. Real price of oil is a variable of interest in model-based macroeconomic projections. Central banks, private sector forecasters, international organizations commonly generate forecasts of real price of oil based on oil price futures. Sreyoshi’s current research focuses on comparing forecastibility of real price of oil using large scale models with that of small scale VARs and other commonly used measures.
Christian Gillitzer Christian is a fifth year economics PhD candidate at the University of Michigan with research interests at the intersection of public finance and macroeconomics. His current research investigates the effect of income shocks and debt levels on the adoption of new tax bases, using the adoption of sales and income taxes by US state governments during the 1930s as a case study. His other work proposes a model incorporating consumption adjustment costs into a standard general equilibrium macroeconomic model, and in co-authored work uses a policy change in Denmark to investigate reporting behavior of charitable tax deductions. Prior to entering the PhD program at Michigan, Christian earned an MPA from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School, and a Bachelor of Commerce (Hons.) and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Melbourne. Before entering graduate school, he worked for three years as an analyst at the Reserve Bank of Australia
Students awarded SYLFF Small Grants for travel and research
Students apply for the small grants up to three times a year for awards in Spring/Summer, Fall and Winter. Students submit an application, budget and research information on an online application which are reviewed and awarded by the Graduate Education Committee. Please contact Mary Braun for more information.
Jessica Hoel With the gracious assistance of a SYLFF fellowship and several other grants, Jessica Hoel collected original data for her dissertation in rural Kenya in the fall of 2011, interviewing more than 400 couples in Siaya County. Jessica's job market paper focuses on household decision making, using lab-in-the-field games to test two common features of household models: efficiency and perfect information. The data gathered in her dissertation project will support several additional papers, including one that studies motives for sharing between spouses, another that demonstrates gender differences in asset reports and discusses implications for poverty scores, and others that detail spousal knowledge of income and expenditures. Jessica will finish her Economics PhD at the University of Michigan in the spring of 2013, and this summer will join the International Food Research and Policy Institute as a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Poverty, Health, and Nutrition Division.
Kate Ambler Kate Ambler will complete her Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Michigan in the summer of 2013. She holds an M.A. in Economics from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in Economics from Williams College. Prior to graduate school she was a Project Coordinator at Innovations for Poverty Action Peru where she managed a large field experiment. Her research interests focus on household decision making in developing countries and the economics of migration and remittances. Her dissertation work addresses questions related to the allocation of financial resources in migrant families from El Salvador and households in South Africa
Emily Beam Emily Beam is a Ph.D. candidate in economics and public policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan. She received her B.S. in economics, mathematics, and Spanish (2006) and a M.A. in economics (2008) from the University of Michigan. Her research interests are in development and labor economics, Her research uses randomized field experiments to explore the role of information and expectations on individual decision-making, particularly in the realms of job search, migration, and program participation. Her dissertation explores how exogenous variation in individuals' information and job-search exposure affects their job-search processes and employment outcomes in the Philippines. In other work, she examines policies to facilitate overseas migration in the Philippines, and in ongoing work she investigates informational and behavioral barriers to accessing Medicaid in the United States.
Notable SYLFF Fellows
Jordan Matsudaira, PhD (2005) Dissertation: Essays in Labor and Family Economics
Melinda Miller, PhD (2008) Dissertation: Essays on Race and the Persistence of Economics Inequality
SYLFF Fellows earning a PhD in Economics (in the past 10 years)
Noah Smith, PhD (2012) Dissertation: Essays on Expectations
Doug Smith, PhD (2011) Dissertation: Essays on Mechanism Design
Isao Kamata, PhD (2008) Dissertation: Essays on Patterns of International Trade
Rebecca Gunnlaugsson, PhD (2007) Dissertation: Essays in Education and Inequality
Curtis Lock Reynolds, PhD (2007) Dissertation: Three Essays on Policies and Politics in Higher Education
Osamu Aruga, PhD (2006) Dissertation: Economic Growth Models with Capital Heterogeneity and Vintage Specific Technological Change
Daehaeng Kim, PhD (2005) Dissertation: Essays on Growth, Stabilization, and the Business Cycle
William Powers, PhD (2005) Dissertation: Essays on the International Location of Production and Trade in Factor
Kenji Moriyana, PhD (2004) Dissertation: Essays on Capital Income Taxation and Fiscal Adjustment
Thomas Bishop, PhD (2004) Dissertation: Precautionary Saving and Risk Preferences
Patrick McGuire, PhD (2003) Dissertation: The Changing Nature of Japanese Firm Bank Relationships