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What influences crime rates in societies? A study using provincial data from China suggests that a 0.01 increase in the ratio of males to females in the population raises violent and property crime rates by 5-6%.

Do investments in teacher training improve student performance? Data from the French Education Ministry demonstrated that teacher training substantially improved the math score of most students. However, for weaker students, smaller class sizes had a bigger impact.

Does longer maternity leave result in long-term benefits for children? Researchers who have studied the impact of a 1977 Norwegian maternity reform found that children whose mothers stayed at home in their first few months were more likely to complete high school and earn more compared to children on informal childcare arrangements.

Administrative data is information that is routinely collected by public sector agencies as part of their functional or operational activities. While not collected primarily for research purposes, administrative data has deep research potential given its detailed information on individuals, large sample sizes and longitudinal nature. Advancements in data mining and security have also created new possibilities for public policy research by enabling policymakers and researchers to examine causal relations and analyse the effects of public policies on individual outcomes.

The Conference on “Evidence-based Public Policy Using Administrative Data” will be held on the 2nd and 3rd of August 2012 at the Civil Service College. Jointly organised by the Civil Service College (CSC) and National University of Singapore (NUS), in partnership with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Singapore Management University (SMU), the conference will bring together policymakers with local and international academics to discuss how administrative data can be used to improve the formulation and evaluation of public policies.

Conference Objectives

Highlight the research potential of administrative data by showcasing how such data has been used for programme and policy evaluations in other countries 

Discuss practical and security considerations of transforming administrative information into research-ready databases 

Identify best practices and new quantitative tools available to users of administrative data, census and surveys  

Contact Persons

Mr Codey Tan
Email: cscollege_cpe@cscollege.gov.sg
DID: 6874 2063

Mr Alan Tan
Email: cscollege_cpe@cscollege.gov.sg
DID: 6874 1761


Keynote Speakers

Victor Lavy is William Haber Chaired Professor of Economics at Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Chaired Professor at University of Warwick. He received his PhD from the University of Chicago and his past visiting positions include University of Pennsylvania, MIT, Boston University, and LSE. He was Director of the Falk Research Institute from 2001-2004. Prof. Lavy is affiliated with BREAD (Board Member) and NBER (Research Associate), and is Research Fellow of CAGE (Warwick), CEPR, CEP (LSE), IZA, and IGC. His research interests are in labour and development economics, including the evaluation of programs and interventions in and education and human capital. He published numerous papers in the top field and general journals in economics, including the American Economic Review, Journal of Political Economy, Quarterly Journal of Economics and Review of Economic Studies. He is a member of the American Economic Association, the Econometric Society, and the Society of Labour Economists. He also serves as Associate Editor of "Labour Economics". Prof. Lavy has also served as Policy Advisor to the Israeli Education Ministry and Israeli Energy Ministry, and as a Senior and Lead Economist at the World Bank.

Paper Title: Expanding School Resources and Increasing Time on Task: Effects of a Policy Experiment in Israel on Student Academic Achievement and Behaviour

Zhang Junsen is currently Wei Lun Professor of Economics at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research has focused on labour and demographic economics and applied econometrics. In particular, his research work is characterized by a delicate combination of a theoretical modelling of real-world family issues and an empirical testing of economic hypotheses on family behaviour using data from China. He has published over 80 papers in major economics journals, including the Journal of Political EconomyReview of Economic StudiesEconomic Journal, and Review of Economics and Statistics. He has served as Editor of Journal of Population Economics since 2001 and as the President of the Hong Kong Economic Association from 2007 to 2011.  

Paper Title: Population Control Policies and the Chinese Household Saving Puzzle: A Cohort Analysis (with Suqin Ge and Dennis Tao Yang)

Francis Kramarz is the Director of CREST-INSEE, the research branch of the French Statistical Institute. He is also an associate professor at Ecole Polytechnique. His main field is labor economics and labor micro-econometrics, with a particular focus on the interaction of product markets and labor markets. In particular, he and John Abowd have developed new methods for analyzing matched employer-employee panel data. He has published in Econometrica, the Quarterly Journal of Economics, the Journal of Political Economy, the Review of Economic Studies, the Journal of Econometrics, the Journal of Labor Economics, Review of Economic and Statistics, and other journals. He received with D. Fougère and J. Pouget the Hicks-Tinbergen prize for his paper on youth unemployment and crime published in the Journal of the European Economics Association. He also wrote a chapter of the Handbook of Labor Economics. His current research tries to connect firms in globalization with labor market outcomes (employment and wages). Francis Kramarz is a research fellow of CEPR (London) and since October 1999 of IZA.  

Paper Title: Firm-to-Firm Trade: Imports, Exports, and the Labor Market (with Jonathan Eaton, Sam Kortum and Sampognaro)


Loren Brandt is a Professor of Economics at the University of Toronto specializing in the Chinese economy. He has been at the University of Toronto since 1987. He is also a research fellow at the IZA (The Institute for the Study of Labor) in Bonn, Germany. He has published widely on the Chinese economy in leading economic journals, and has been involved in extensive household and enterprise survey work in both China and Vietnam. He was co-editor (with Thomas Rawski) and major contributor to China’s Great Economic Transformation (Cambridge University Press, 2008), a landmark study that provides an integrated analysis of China’s unexpected economic boom of the past three decades. Brandt was also one of the area editors for Oxford University Press’ five-volume Encyclopedia of Economic History (2003). His current research focuses on issues of industrial and regulatory policy on innovation and upgrading in China, inequality dynamics, and economic growth and structural change.

Paper Title: Roads, Railroads and Decentralization of Chinese Cities (with Nathaniel Baum-Snow, J. Vernon Henderson, Matthew A. Turner and Qinghua Zhang)

John Abowd is the Edmund Ezra Day Professor of Economics, Professor of Information Science, Director of Graduate Studies in Economics, and member of the Department of Statistical Science at Cornell University. He is also the Director of the newly formed Labor Dynamics Institute (LDI) at Cornell. His current research and many activities of the LDI focus on the creation, dissemination, privacy protection, and use of linked, longitudinal data on employees and employers. In his work at the US Census Bureau, he provides scientific leadership for the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Program, which produces research and public-use data integrating censuses, demographic surveys, economic surveys, and administrative data.

Paper Title: Statistical and Modeling Challenges from Large-Scale Longitudinally Integrated Record Systems.


Invited Speakers

Breakout Session Day 1 - International Trade

Session Chairperson: Dr. Davin Chor (SMU)

Johannes Van Biesebroeck is a Professor of Economics at the University of Leuven (Belgium) and a research affiliate at the CEPR (UK). He obtained his Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 2001 and worked until 2008 at the University of Toronto. He specializes in the areas of industrial organization, international trade, and development economics. His work on the automotive industry includes studies on the adoption of flexible technology, the automotive value chain, interaction between innovation and market structure, strategic trade liberalization, and outsourcing to low-wage countries. His work on international trade is increasingly focused on the Chinese economy and the impact of trade liberalization and quality upgrading by exporters. He has advised the Canadian and Flemish governments on trade and industrial policy issues and in 2009 he was awarded a European ERC grant.

Paper Title: WTO Accession and Firm-Level Productivity in Chinese Manufacturing (with Loren Brandt, Luhang Wang and Yifan Zhang)

Discussant: Aamir Hashmi (NUS)

Marc-Andreas Muendler, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of California, San Diego, and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His fields of interest include international and development economics, entrepreneurship, and information economics. Muendler has published in leading economic journals including the American Economic Review, the Journal of Economic Theory and the Review of Economics and Statistics. He has worked as a consultant to the World Bank and private businesses, and as a consulting researcher for the Brazilian labor ministry, the Brazilian census bureau, the German central bank and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 2002 and was a Peter B. Kenen Research Fellow at Princeton University in 2008-09. Muendler conducts research into local impacts of global markets.

Paper Title: Trade and Inequality: From Theory to Estimation (with Elhanan Helpman, Oleg Itskhoki and Stephen Redding)

Discussant: Davin Chor (SMU)

Paulo Bastos is an Economist in the World Bank’s Development Research Group, Trade and Integration Unit. His main research area is applied microeconomic research on globally-engaged firms, focusing on issues such as the causes and implications of product differentiation, the effects of social networks on export outcomes, and the impact of globalization on labor market outcomes. His research has been published in journals such as the Journal of International Economics, Journal of Development Economics, International Journal of Industrial Organization and Canadian Journal of Economics, among others. Prior to joining the World Bank, he held positions at the Research Department of the Inter-American Development Bank, ECFIN-European Commission and GEP-University of Nottingham. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Nottingham.

Paper Title: Export Destinations and Input Prices: Evidence from Portugal (with Eric Verhoogen and Joana Silva)

Discussant: Hsu Wen-Tai (NUS)


Breakout Session Day 1 - Education and Family

Session Chairperson: Dr. Jessica Pan (NUS)

Wong Wei Kang is an associate professor in the Economics Department at the National University of Singapore. He received his B.Soc.Sci (Hon) from NUS in 1995 and his PhD in economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 2001. He has done empirical research on the channels of economic growth and convergence, endowment effect and loss aversion, time inconsistency, consumption response to government transfers, parental valuation of good schools, schooling’s effect on test scores, and political economy of housing prices in Singapore. 

Paper Title: Does an Additional Year of Schooling Improve Skills in Reading, Mathematics and Science? Regression Discontinuity due to Imprecise Control over Birthdates (with Kaimin Khaw)

Discussant: Dominic Soon (MTI)

Hongliang Zhang is an Assistant Professor at the Economics Department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He received his doctorate degree in economics from MIT in 2009. His research interests include the economics of education, labor economics, development economics, and urban economics. Using administrative data on students in China, he has examined elite school attendance and peer effects on student achievement. His current research focuses on four main areas: (1) the effect of fertility and education on female labor supply, (2) the effect of family background (e.g., family size and parental absence status) on child education; (3) field school experiments; and (4) demography and growth. He is contactable at hongliang@cuhk.edu.hk.

Paper Title: The Mirage of Elite Schools: Evidence from Lottery-based School Admissions in China

 Discussant: Liu Haoming (NUS)

Stacey Chen is an Associate Research Fellow of Academia Sinica in Taipei Taiwan since 2011 and a Research Associate at the Institute for Fiscal Study in UK since 2009. After she received her PhD from the University of Rochester in 2002, she worked at SUNY Albany as assistant professor for 5 years and Royal Holloway University of London as lecturer for 3 years. She worked at the University of Toronto and the National Bureau of Economics Research as visiting scholar. She is a Christian. She likes cooking and swimming.

Paper Title: Effects of Family Composition on Investment in Human Capital (with Yen-Chien Chen, Jin-Tan Liu and Hsienming Lien)

 Discussant: Christine Ho (SMU)


Breakout Session Day 2 - Labour and Behavioural Economics

Session Chairperson: Dr. Walter Theseira (NTU)  

Sadat Reza is a post-doctoral research fellow at the Centre for Behavioural Economics at the NUS Business School. Sadat completed graduate studies in Economics at York University, Canada, specializing in applied micro-econometrics. Prior to joining the Centre for Behavioural Economics, he was an economics researcher for the Government of Canada, and conducted research on several labour policy related issues. His research interest includes structural modeling in empirical industrial organization and quantitative marketing.

Paper Title: Sunk Costs Fallacy and Driving the World's Costliest Cars (with Ho Teck Hua and Ivan Png)

Discussant: Walter Theseira (NTU)

Katrine Vellesen Løken is a Postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Economics, University of Bergen and a Research associate at Statistics Norway. She received her PhD in Economics from the University of Bergen in 2010. She is currently visiting the Department of Economics, University of California, San Diego (2011/2012). Research interests include labour economics and applied econometrics. Her main focus is on long term effects of early investments in childhood. For more information, please refer to Katrine’s homepage at https://sites.google.com/site/katrinecv/

Paper Title: A Flying Start? Maternity Leave Benefits and Long Run Outcomes of Children (with Pedro Carneiro and Kjell G. Salvanes)

Discussant: Jie Gong (NUS Business School)

Ken Yamada is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Singapore Management University, where he has taught since 2008. His research interests lie in applied microeconometrics and labor economics. He received his PhD from University College London.

Paper Title: Changing Unchanged Inequality: Higher Education, Youth Population, and the Japanese Seniority Wage System (with Daiji Kawaguchi)

Discussant: Tan Di Song (MTI)

Matthew Freedman is an assistant professor in the Department of Economics at Cornell University. Professor Freedman’s interests lie at the intersection of labor economics, urban economics, and public finance. His recent research examines how federal, state, and local policies affect neighborhoods, and in particular, how they affect the interactions between workers and firms within areas. Past work has also examined how geography and local market conditions influence firms’ behavior with respect to their employees, and how the built environment affects workers’ formal and informal market behavior and their ability to find and keep jobs. His research has been published in numerous academic journals in economics, including the Economic Journal, the Journal of Human Resources, the Journal of Urban Economics, and Industrial Relations. Professor Freedman holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Maryland-College Park.

 Paper Title: Place-Based Programs and the Geographic Dispersion of Employment  

Discussant: Lu Yi (NUS)


Breakout Session Day 2 - Health and Development

Session Chairperson: Dr. Chia Yee Fei (MOH)

Karna Basu is an Associate Professor of Economics at Hunter College, City University of New York. He also serves as a Faculty Associate of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute and is an Associate Member of ThReD (Theoretical Research in Development Economics). He received a PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BA from Yale University. His research areas include development economics, behavioral economics, and applied microeconomic theory, with a particular focus on the psychology of financial decision-making.

Paper Title: Evaluating Seasonal Food Security Programs in East Indonesia (with Maisy Wong)

Discussant: Tomoki Fujii (SMU)

Samuel Bazzi is a Ph.D. job market candidate in the Department of Economics at the University of California, San Diego. His research focuses on international migration, economic growth, and other topics in development economics including the determinants of social capital, the welfare effects of cash transfers, the evolution of the firm size distribution, and the causes of conflict. His job market paper examines the extent to which financial barriers limit international migration flows from low-income settings.

Paper Title: Wealth Heterogeneity, Income Shocks, and International Migration: Theory and Evidence from Indonesia

Discussant: Markus Brueckner (NUS)

 Zhang Yang is currently a lecturer at Department of Economics, National University of Singapore. She worked at University of California, Irvine as an assistant professor for one year after she received her PhD in Managerial Economics and Strategy from Northwestern University in 2011. Her research is in the area of health economics and industrial organization. Her current projects examine the role of information disclosure and physician-hospital integration in shaping health care providers' behaviour.

Paper Title: Are Two Report Cards Better than One? The Case of CABG Surgery and Patient Sorting 

Discussant: Aloysius Siow (Toronto)

Prashant Bharadwaj is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of California, San Diego. His research interests are in development and labor economics, focusing on the interactions between early childhood health, gender and education. Prof Bharadwaj uses large, administrative and survey data sets from various countries to investigate important connections between early childhood inputs and later life achievement and the role of gender in various childhood investments. His recent work has examined the role of medical treatments soon after birth and its long run impact on cognitive achievement as well as the long run mechanisms by which early childhood health like birth weight affects school performance. His work on gender has focussed on uncovering whether parents might discriminate in prenatal care investments in utero and on examining gender differences in math performance in school. Prof Bharadwaj holds a BA from the University of Chicago and a PhD from Yale University. His research affiliations include BREAD and CEGA.

Paper Title: Early Life Health Interventions and Academic Achievement (with Katrine Vellesen Løken and Christopher Neilson) 

Discussant: Chia Yee Fei (MOH)

The conference registration fee is a flat rate of S$350. Fee includes admission to all plenary sessions, breakout sessions, daily lunches and refreshments, a conference dinner and conference materials.

Payment can be made by cheque to “Civil Service College” or e-invoice (for Singapore government agencies only). To register, please indicate the number of Conference passes you need and click on the "Submit" button above.

For enquiries, please contact Mr Alan Tan at cscollege_cpe@cscollege.gov.sg or 6874 1761.