Meet Huanjia Ma, City-REDI/WMREDI’s New Research Fellow

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I joined City-REDI in February after completing my PhD in Economics at the University of Birmingham. I am an applied economist and my main research fields are in regional economic development, firm behaviour and household finance. I specialise in conducting empirical analysis as well as causal inference with panel data at both micro and macro level.

My PhD thesis studied household and firm behaviours in China using a variety of quantitative methods. I examined the effect of sex ratio and social competition on household expenditure on the household level. On the firm level, I looked into the interaction between government officials and firms and how such interaction affects a firm’s investment behaviour.

I am also interested in exploring research ideas relating to regional economic growth policies, firms’ role in regional economic development and the heterogeneous impact of economic development on households. I believe City-REDI’s research themes are closely related to my research interests.

Joining City-REDI provides me with great opportunities to further explore these areas in a meaningful way. At City-REDI, I will be mainly contributing to research and analysis through quantitative methods. First, I am involved in extending the Socio-Economic Impact Model for the UK (SEIM-UK model), including developing a household module to examine the unequal impact of various policies. Second, I will be contributing to linking firms and households in a regional context. These will help to relate different research themes at City-REDI. One such example is studying how firms affect households and individuals of different backgrounds.

Before my PhD, I completed MSc in Economics at the University of Manchester and obtained my BSc in Economics from SOAS, University of London. I have had great opportunities working in various organisations, which provide me with great insight into economic development. From 2015 to 2017, I have worked as a consultant in the private sector as a data analyst in Beijing. Before that, I worked at World Food Programme providing evaluations of policies and disseminating evaluation results to donors and a wider audience.

Regional inequality has now received a level of attention unlike any time before in the UK and around the world. Moreover, policies like the Levelling Up agenda had become a national strategy. Studying regional development is of both academic interest and practical needs. Research outputs at City- REDI will provide invaluable evidence and suggestions for future policies. Therefore, I am thrilled to join City-REDI and contribute to such an effort.

This blog was written by  Huanjia Ma, Research Fellow, City-REDI / WMREDI, University of Birmingham. 

The views expressed in this analysis post are those of the authors and not necessarily those of City-REDI / WMREDI or the University of Birmingham.

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