CEP Small Research Grant Funding Results 2021


Funding Results of CEP Small Research Grants are out. 5 grants were awarded to researches conducted related to two programs in the Center, namely Antitrust and Competition Policy Program and the Development Economics Action Research (DEAR) Program .

The grants are intended to support policy-relevant research that in the future can lead to dissemination and dialogue with relevant stakeholders interested in gaining a deeper understanding of economic policy issues.

Funding Results 2021

Collusion and Innovation

Alminas Zaldokas, Associate Professor of Finance


Academic and policy circles have longed been concerned with how product market rivalry affects firm investment in innovation. The project aims to revisit this issue by looking at wide impacts on innovative policies of firms, stemming from one particular change in the degree of competition – an exogenous shock to the costs of price-fixing collusion.

Agency Model versus Wholesale Model: Platforms’ Choice and Antitrust Issues

Yangguang Huang, Assistant Professor of Economics


The project compares the private incentives and social welfare of these two business models by highlighting the differences in move order and price structure. With a monopoly platform (intermediary), the agency model dominates the wholesale model with respect to social welfare and the platform's profit if and only if demand is subconvex. With duopoly platforms, having both platforms adopt the agency model is socially desirable, and it is a dominant-strategy Nash equilibrium if demand is convex. The results of this project will have novel contributions to the literature of business model comparison and offer insights into the platform design problem and several influential antitrust cases.

A Structural Analysis of Resale Price Maintenance in the Japanese Publishing Industry

Kohei Kawaguchi, Assistant Professor of Economics


Jeff Qiu, Economist, The U.S. Department of Justice

Yi Zhang, PhD candidate of Economics, HKUST


Minimum resale price maintenance (RPM) is a vertical contract between manufacturers and retailers that requires the retailers sell the manufacturers’ products at or above a price floor set by the manufacturers. To facilitate rule-of-reason-based antitrust policy toward RPM, this project aims to develop an empirical model to quantify one of the potential pro-competitive effects of RPM, inline with Deneckere et al.(1996,1997)’s theory. The model will then be applied to the data from Japanese publishing industry, in which RPM is allowed as a special exemption. The adoption of RPM can be either pro-competitive or anti-competitive in the empirical model depending on parameters, namely, the degree of demand uncertainty and substitution across bookstores. By counterfactual simulations using the estimated model, the project further studies whether RPM can be justified from social planner’s viewpoint.

Developing a Digital Financial Planning Tool to Empower Migrant Domestic Workers in Hong Kong

Hyuncheol Bryant Kim, Associate Professor of Economics


Sujata Visaria, Associate Professor of Economics

Yaeeun Han, Postdoctoral Fellow of HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies (IEMS)


Migrant domestic workers (MDWs) play an important role in Hong Kong’s economy. However, 34 percent of MDWs who had returned from Hong Kong said they were unable to make ends meet. As remote providers to their families, MDWs find it difficult to communicate about and control household financial matters and are unwilling to save when they lack control over how remittances are spent.

The project aims to develop a smartphone application that enables MDW's goal-setting and goal tracking, and that both migrants and their dependents can use in tandem. 

Environmental Blessing or Curse: Emission Effects of the Belt and Road Energy Infrastructure projects in Africa

Jin Wang, Associate Professor of Social Science

2nd Principal Investigator

Yatang Lin, Assistant Professor of Economics, Public Policy, Social Science


With the lowest industrialization level in the world, Africa has been facing severe energy limitations. Recently, the belt and road initiative, the most prominent global development program, attempts to tackle these issues by providing efficient energy infrastructure to the recipient countries. However, the BRI's reliance on non-renewable energy sources, such as coal, arouses widespread concern related to pollution. Utilizing novel micro-level BRI related power plant project and pollution data from 2000, the project will be among the first to empirically examine whether the BRI offers emission-efficient energy option to Africa. Findings of this project will offer important policy implications to international development policy design with a focus on energy infrastructure.


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