Class of 2021

Harry Pofke

Harry PofkeWhat motivated and/or inspired you to undertake honours?
I was motivated to undertake honours primarily because I wanted to apply the concepts and techniques that I learnt throughout undergrad on an actual research project. Additionally, being able to be supervised by a professional economist is pretty exciting and it’s a great opportunity to see if I enjoy research enough to pursue a PhD. 

What is the topic of your honours thesis?
My honours thesis is in the intersection of applied microeconometrics and migration/refugee studies. Specifically, I’m exploring the impact of immigration detention on economic outcomes of refugees. 

What do you want to do after honours?
My next step after honours is still undecided. I’m looking into graduate positions in a range of areas – from economic consulting to international development to government economist positions. I’m still also contemplating undertaking a PhD. I think in the long-term however I want to work on fiscal policy. 


Man Hin (Iris) Chio

Man HIn (Iris) ChioWhat motivated/inspired you to undertake  honours?I decided to do honours because this is a great opportunity to challenge myself and conduct my own research. I am particularly interested in macroeconomics. Undertaking honours will certainly deepen my understanding in this field.

What’s the topic of your honours thesis?
I am studying the performance of young businesses and start-ups in Australia during the pandemic and estimating the employment loss under different scenarios.

What do you want to do after honours?
At this moment, I have not made any decisions yet. But I would like to pursue a PhD program after honours.


Matisse Clark

Matisse ClarkWhat motivated and/or inspired you to undertake honours?
I was motivated to immerse myself in a specific research project and produce an academic paper for my final year of university, under the guidance of a team of experienced economists. I believe this year will provide me with a rewarding challenge, alongside a cohort of likeminded students.

What is the topic of your honours thesis? 
My honours thesis is an experimental investigation on individual decision making, focussed on routine based behaviour. Often, we consider the aim of routines is to create efficiencies and provide structure for regular activities, however sticking to routines may lead to less than optimal outcomes when individuals do not adapt to acting opportunistically when presented with alternative activities.

What do you want to do after honours?
I am very excited to be commencing full time work as a Research Associate at Hyperion Asset Management in 2022 after having worked with the team during my final two years of university studies.


Kai O'Neill

Kai O'NeillWhat motivated and/or inspired you to undertake honours?
Throughout my undergraduate degree I developed a passion and appreciation for economics and wished to take my learning further. Honours seemed to be the perfect way to better explore the complexities of the subject and improve my understanding, and I’m glad I chose to pursue it. 

What’s the topic of your honours thesis?
Creating a personalised life expectancy model by applying survival analysis to panel data. I’m using household and individual level data from the HILDA dataset to analyse the effects of various social and economic factors on mortality. Currently there is a lot of population level data on life expectancy, but by including individual level data I hope to create more accurate personalised estimates. 

What do you want to do after honours?
I’m hoping to further my education by attaining a masters degree, hopefully at UQ. I’m still uncertain as to what specific area of economics I’ll pursue, but I know that my honours year will help me identify exactly where my interests and abilities lie. After education I hope to work with public policy in some capacity, as I know that properly applied economics holds enormous potential to address some of the most difficult policy issues of today. 


Elyse Dwyer

Elyse DwyerWhat motivated and/or inspired you to undertake honours?
I wanted to challenge myself and learn higher-level concepts to what is taught in undergrad. I was also interested in doing research for my final year and thought Econ Honours would be a great way to do so.

What is the topic of your honours thesis?
I am working with Assoc. Professor Begoña Dominguez and Dr Andres Bellofatto in studying the sources of the productivity advantages that firms in denser areas have over firms within Australia’s regions, distinguishing between competitive selection mechanisms and agglomerative externalities.  

What do you want to do after honours?
I hope to work for a couple of years in industry before considering a PhD in Economics, I have secured a graduate role within the field of Economics/Finance which I will be commencing next year.


Taiga Saito

Taiga SaitoWhat motivated and/or inspired you to undertake honours?
I found more of the unknown that interests me as I studied more econometrics in undergraduate courses. I thought the honours year would be an ideal opportunity to better understand the theory and application of these unknowns through a self-driven econometrics research paper.

What is the topic of your honours thesis?  
My thesis aims to apply a machine learning method to investigate causal factors that explain the more significant sex differences in STEM fields in more gender-equal countries.

What do you want to do after honours?I would like to pursue a PhD to conduct research ideally in the field of econometrics theory. 


Ashan Piyaratne

Ashan PiyaratneWhat motivated and/or inspired you to undertake honours?
I really enjoyed studying economics as an undergraduate and wanted to learn more about how to apply those skills in research and hypothesis testing. The honours program was a good opportunity to learn economics at a more advanced level and give a good hint of what academic life would be like. I was particularly keen to work on a thesis and be able to use econometrics and data analytics on a big dataset and to face a challenge which will be undoubtedly rewarding when finished.  

What is the topic of your honours thesis? 
I am currently completing my thesis in behavioural economics and focusing on investigating the external and internal factors that affect how and why individuals exhibit dishonest behaviour. The ambition of my project is to use a large real-world dataset to paint a comprehensive picture of why and when people engage in dishonest behaviours and to test how the current theoretical frameworks available in literature fits within a real-world setting. This project exploits a large and unique dataset from Chess.com, one of the largest online gaming platforms and consisting of over 50 million users.  With over 300,000 users banned for cheating, it provides the ideal environment to study cheating and dishonesty in a real-world setting.  

What do you want to do after honours?I am interested in working in economics particularly in public policy in both public and private sectors to apply economics and quantitative analysis to gain evidence-based insights to optimise decision making on meaningful projects.  


Robert Coulter
Peter Limerick
Justin Strong
Callen Van den Elst
Declan Curran
Liam Falconer
James Ghusn
Zachary Hayward
Declan Hunt