Announcing IEMS Research Grants 2014


Research. Photo credit: Phlebotomy Tech via Flickr.

The Institute is delighted that it has awarded 9 grants for unique research conducted on a broad range of emerging market related issues for the year 2014.

HKUST IEMS Research Grants support high-quality research that provides valuable insights into the challenges facing businesses and governments in emerging markets. The Institute encouraged collaborative proposals among HKUST faculty and with researchers outside HKUST.  Priority is given to collaborative research projects that are oriented around the Institute's focus research themes, as well as proposals that contribute to ongoing Institute’s research initiatives on the topics of Belt and Road and Digital Economy.



University-Industry Linkages in Indonesia and Vietnam: A Comparative Perspective

Erik Baark, Professor, Division of Social Science and Environment

Indonesia and Vietnam have experienced economic growth in recent years that has led these two countries to be considered important second tier emerging markets. However, weak technological infrastructure and low productivity in most sectors of the economy is still a major barrier to future development for both countries. The challenge of mobilizing R&D in universities and research organizations, and linking them with potential users of technological innovation in industry, forms the background o the current project. The overall aim of the research will be to provide an exploratory survey of the institutional framework for university-industry linkages in the two countries, and - in a comparative perspective - to examine how policies to promote these linkages have shaped such interactions. Data will be collected through selective interviews with policy makers and academic staff, and analyzed with reference to factors characterizing the innovation systems in Indonesia and Vietnam. [More]


Social Networks and the Geographic Pattern of EMNC Expansion Overseas 

Joon Nak Choi, Assistant Professor, Department of Management

The aggressive overseas expansion of emerging market multinational corporations (EMNCs) has received much scholarly attention. Recent studies have found that EMNCs rely on social networks to overcome information asymmetries that would otherwise hinder their expansion. However, such studies have yet to investigate how social networks direct EMNCs to expand towards one overseas location instead of another. My proposed study aims to answer this question by relating the global geographic structure of social networks with the pattern of EMNC expansion, analyzing data from the Directory of Corporate Affiliations using social network methods. [More]


Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies: Unpacking the CEO-Board Relationship in New Ventures 

Sam Garg, Assistant Professor, Department of Management

New ventures are important for emerging markets but remain under-emphasized. I propose to closely examine the CEO-Board relationship in new ventures in emerging markets. This consequential relationship for ventures is distinctive from the CEO-board relationship in public firms where CEO alignment is a central issue. Given limited prior research, I propose to use inductive multi-case research method to develop a middle range theory based on ventures in China and India. This proposal requests funding to conduct a pilot study. [More]


Market Access and Capital Structure: Evidence from China 

Vidhan K. Goyal, Professor, Department of Finance

The goal of this research is to examine financing decisions of private, public, and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the Chinese context. As China's system is dominated by large state-controlled banks, SOEs are biggest beneficiaries of lending by Chinese banks. This results in Chinese private firms with limited access to bank funds. We plan to examine how these constraints affect financing decisions of private and public firms. The institutional richness and the availability of data on Chinese private, public, and state-owned enterprises provides a unique opportunity to test how financial frictions affect corporate behavior of firms. [More]


College Majors and Career Trajectories during China’s Economic Transformation

James Z Lee, Chair Professor, Division of Social Science

We request funding for our prospective Suzhou University Alumni Survey. Despite the remarkable recent expansion and re-structuring, Chinese universities have not effectively responded to the transformed economy and the shifting labor market. The proposed survey aims to provide empirical evidence from a provincial elite university, namely Suzhou University in Jiangsu, for better understanding how experience of higher education shapes individuals’ career trajectory and other life outcomes in China. The focus is on the interaction between field of study and major social and economic changes in the history of PRC. It is expected that people from different fields of study not only start career with different industries and follow distinctive career trajectories, but also fare differently during time of changes so as to become "winners" and "losers" in their generations. We plan to interview more than 10,000 Suzhou University alumni who entered Suzhou University from 1952 to 2002. [More]


Can the Poor be Incentivised to Save? A Study of Migrant Domestic Workers in Hong Kong 

Sujata Visaria, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics

A growing literature argues that the poor are unable to commit to saving. We will conduct a field experiment with migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong to explore whether providing them with the opportunity to invest and earn relatively safe returns increases their savings behaviour. We will examine how these effects vary across those who have a higher versus lower measured “preference for commitment”. Our results could inform microfinance practitioners interested in devising new financial products to help the poor in emerging markets manage their finances. [More]


Understanding Firms in Emerging Transitional Economies: China and Central-Eastern Europe Compared 

Jin Wang, Assistant Professor, Division of Social Science

Firm productivity is central to explain the performance of an economy as a whole. Recent research assesses how cross country income differences can be related to differences in the productivity dispersion across firms (a syndrome of resource misallocation). However, there is a tremendous lack of understanding on the role of macro-level institutions and firm-level factors in creating misallocation and productivity gaps. Employing unique datasets, this proposed project will be the first to study how firm performances differ and why they are different across emerging transitional economies - China and Central-Eastern Europe (CEE). The remarkable differences in the transition processes of China and CEE provide us with rich variations in both macro and micro level factors including legal and financial institutions, market competition, exports orientation and corporate governance. The findings will help us better understand the determinants of productivity gaps and implement policies that close these gaps. [More]


Self-employment and Entrepreneurship in Post-Socialist Transition Economies: A Comparative Study of China, Russia, and Vietnam since the 1990s 

Xiaogang Wu, Professor, Division of Social Science

The emergence and subsequent expansion of a self-employed sector in former state socialist countries is an integral part of the transition from planned economies to market economies. Self-employment and entrepreneurship have played a crucial role in shaping post-socialist inequality stratification. Based on longitudinal data collected during the 1990s in three former or reforming state socialist countries, China, Russia, and Vietnam, this project adopts a comparative approach to examining the similarities and variations in the patterns of entry into and exit from self-employed businesses since the 1990s, with a particular focus on the changing status of cadres and political connections in the dynamics of the transition. The differing transition paths within each country's institutional legacy have led to different stratification outcomes. The study will contribute to understanding the labor market inequality in emerging markets from former state socialist economies. [More]


China’s International and Intranational Risk-sharing 

Juanyi Jenny Xu, Associate Professor, Department of Economics

Many economists argue that insufficient risk sharing in China is crucial in understanding many puzzling facts during China’s economic growth, such as its high saving rate, huge foreign exchange reserve and current account imbalance,. Hence, understanding the source of incomplete consumption risk-sharing in China will shed light on these important issues.

Furthermore, studying the cyclical property of risk sharing and factors affecting risk sharing in a large developing country like China has very important welfare and policy implications. Hence, the main objective of this project is to explore the consumption risk sharing in China. The key issues we will examine are: 1) the cyclical property and determinants of consumption risk sharing in China: 2) the consumption risk-sharing between China and the rest of the world and its interaction with intra- national risk sharing. [More]

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