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ARC funds projects informing, health, economic and social policy

2 November 2016

Associate Professor Danielle Logue has received a prestigious DECRA

Associate Professor Danielle Logue has received a prestigious DECRA   Photo: Damien Pleming

Projects involving UTS Business School researchers have attracted funding of nearly $1.4 million in the latest round of Australian Research Council (ARC) grants.

Three research projects will receive funding under the ARC’s Discovery Projects scheme, while Associate Professor Danielle Logue is the recipient of a prestigious Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA).

“We are thrilled with this outstanding result in what is a very competitive grants program,” Associate Dean, Research, Professor Ashish Sinha said.

UTS Business School was in the top three for grants in the fields of Economics and Commerce in this round.

“We believe these projects will deliver important knowledge and real outcomes for business, government and the community,” Professor Sinha said.

'These projects will deliver important
knowledge and real outcomes for
business, government and the community'

The projects aim to help make the health system fair and sustainable, improve our understanding of the “networked” economy, bring big data to statistical modelling of social issues, and illuminate the way forward for the nascent Australian market for impact investing.

Professor Jane Hall and Associate Professor Kees van Gool, of the Centre for Health Economics Research and Evaluation (CHERE), along with collaborator Professor Denzil Fiebig from UNSW, receive $441,500 for a project looking at the Medicare Safety Net and its impact on moral hazard, equity and welfare.

The project will examine the relationship between this sort of social insurance and health system performance.

“We hope this research will help policy makers improve the design of social health insurance programs such as the Medicare Safety Net, to make the health system more sustainable and equitable,” Professor Hall said.

Associate Professor Mikhail Anufriev, of the Economics Discipline Group at UTS Business School, secures $386,000 for a study that will analyse the Australian economy from a network perspective.

The network approach’s emphasis on the structure of interactions between firms, banks and consumers is important for understanding the economy, said Associate Professor Anufriev, who will work with Associate Professor Valentyn Panchenko of UNSW and Associate Professor Paolo Pin of Bocconi University, Italy, on this project.

The researchers intend to develop a model of a production network that, among other things, focuses on credit-lending relations that may cause economic distortions.

The expected benefits of the project include mitigation of economic risks and improved policy making.

Associate Professor Danielle Logue, a Management Discipline Group researcher, receives an award of $328,000, which will help her continue her work examining the emergence of “social stock exchanges”.

This project will assess how such a platform might assist the nascent Australian market for impact investing – where investors place money in the hope of achieving both a financial and a social return. Social stock exchanges are one platform for this.

“There is potentially a $32 billion market in Australia in providing finance for projects to solve social problems,” Associate Professor Logue said.

“This research will examine the social systems needed to organise and sustain such markets and could inform the development of the market here.”

Associate Professor Youngki Shin, also of Economics, receives $200,000 over three years for a project with a group of international collaborators that brings big data to a statistical model known as high dimensional quantile regression.

Statistical models of threshold regression with change or “tipping” points are used to explore social issues, such as changes in oil and gas prices, effective dosage of drugs and the racial mix in neighbourhoods.

To date, the low numbers of variables available have limited findings. But big data now makes it possible to solve more detailed models and provide more accurate results.

This means the Associate Professor Shin’s project should help governments devise well-informed and appropriate policies to address social issues.