The UQ Summer Research Scholarship Program offers scholarships to students wishing to undertake a research internship over the summer vacation period.

Research internships provide students with the opportunity to work with a researcher in a formal research environment so that they may experience the research process and discover what research is being undertaken in their field of interest at UQ.

Some students may qualify to receive a scholarship for the duration of their internship.

View scholarship guidelines and how to apply

We do not require you to obtain tentative supervisor approval prior to submitting your application. 

2021-22 Projects

Project title: The long run effects of natural disasters on children’s wellbeing and education outcomes

Project duration, hours of engagement & delivery mode

8 weeks, 30 hours per week, remote working with potential for in-person meetings if desired.

Expected project commencement:

December 1st, 2021

Number of students:

1

Description:

This project investigates the effects of experiencing natural disasters on outcomes for children in Australia.

The project involves completing some or all of:

  • data collection of natural disasters in Australia
  • merging the collected data with the Longitudinal Study of Australia Children (LSAC)
  • a literature review of the effects of natural disasters on wellbeing and education attainment

Econometric analysis of the panel dataset to estimate causal effects

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

Scholars may gain skills in:

  • data collection and preparation
  • econometric analysis to identify causal effects
  • synthesis of multidisciplinary literature

Students have the opportunity to use the project as a foundation for a future research project (e.g. thesis).

Suitable for:

This project is open to a student with a background in economics or related data-analysis field, and successful completion of some courses on data analysis and hypothesis testing (e.g. econometrics) is necessary. Experience with the collection and preparation of datasets and the use of Stata or R is desirable.

Primary Supervisor:

Dr Andrea La Nauze

Further info:

For more information, please contact Andrea La Nauze a.lanauze@uq.edu.au.

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Project title: Energy efficiency in rental housing

Project duration, hours of engagement & delivery mode

8 weeks, 30 hours per week, remote working with potential for in-person meetings if desired.

Expected project commencement:

December 1st, 2021

Number of students:

2

Description:

This project investigates whether renters are inattentive to energy costs of rental housing and how disclosure of energy efficiency affects rental markets.

The project involves completing some or all of:

  • data collection of energy efficiency ratings and rental prices in ACT, Australia
  • analysis of surveys and survey experiments of renters and rental agents in Australia
  • a literature review of the effects of disclosure on energy efficiency in rental markets

Econometric analysis.

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

Scholars may gain skills in:

  • data collection and preparation
  • econometric analysis to identify causal effects
  • synthesis of multidisciplinary literature

Suitable for:

This project is open to a student with a background in economics or related data-analysis field, and successful completion of some courses on data analysis and hypothesis testing (e.g. econometrics) is necessary. Experience with the collection and preparation of datasets and use of Stata or R is desirable.

Primary Supervisor:

Dr Andrea La Nauze

Further info:

For more information, please contact Andrea La Nauze a.lanauze@uq.edu.au.

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Project title: Impact of alcohol during pregnancy on child health outcomes and health expenditure

Project duration, hours of engagement & delivery mode

(6-10 weeks): 10 weeks (4 weeks at Drug Arm)

This project is led by a team from UQ School of Economics and industry partner Drug ARM, along with a research assistant from UQ Economics. For 4 weeks, you and the research assistant will be placed at Drug ARM, working on literature searches, data analysis and writing.

 

Expected project commencement:

November 15th, 2021

Number of students:

1

Description:

How does drinking alcohol during pregnancy impact on the effect of alcohol consumption on early health outcomes such as birthweight and child cognition? How does this translate into health care expenditure by the government, for use of Medicare services?

The study employed to investigate solutions to these research questions, will be the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, a rich data source following parents and children over time.

Modelling solutions to these questions requires intricate econometric models, if we wish to provide the causal impact of alcohol consumption during pregnancy on health outcomes and related expenditure. Many studies abandon the causal project entirely, focusing on simply cataloguing the prevalence and predictors of alcohol use.

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

You will benefit from workplace experience, being inducted into their organisation and networking with industry experts.

Suitable for:

The project will suit an undergraduate who has studied economics, econometrics, use of Stata preferable. In addition, you will have studied ECON2460 (Health Economics) or at least show an interest in health economics and interest to develop a career in the field of Health Economics.

Primary Supervisor:

Professor Brenda Gannon

Further info: For more information, please contact Professor Brenda Gannon at brenda.gannon@uq.edu.au

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Project title: The dynamic effects of screen-based sedentary behaviour on children’s mental wellbeing

Project duration, hours of engagement & delivery mode

10 weeks. This project is led by a team from UQ School of Economics and CBEH.

Expected project commencement:

November 15th, 2021

Number of students:

1

Description:

This study aims to examine the effect of screen-based sedentary behaviour (screen time) on children’s short- and long-term mental wellbeing.

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

The project involves a review of literature, data cleaning and conducting econometric analysis to estimate causal effects. The study will use data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC).

Suitable for:

The project will suit an undergraduate who has studied economics, applied econometrics, use of Stata preferable. In addition, you will have studied ECON2460 (Health Economics) or at least show an interest in health economics and interest to develop a career in the field of Health Economics.

Primary Supervisor:

Professor Brenda Gannon

Further info:

For more information, please contact Professor Brenda Gannon at brenda.gannon@uq.edu.au

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Project title: Trust, inequality and fairness

Project duration, hours of engagement & delivery mode

10 weeks

Expected project commencement:

November 22nd, 2021 or earlier

Number of students:

2

Description:

This project investigates how and why income inequality affects people’s trust in others, with a particular focus on fairness. What causes of income inequality are considered fair or unfair in a society, and how does this translate into whether or not people trust each other? These questions will be answered through a lab experiment.

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

The successful Scholar will be involved in the design of the experiment and will then play a major role in pre-registering the experiment and its analysis plan, securing ethics approval, programming the experiment and running the experiment in the UQ BEL lab. Close supervision will be provided by several experienced researchers.

Suitable for:

The project is ideally suited to a student with:

  • Experience in designing and running social science experiments
  • Excellent skills for programming dynamic experiments, e.g. using oTree, zTree, PHP or another language
  • An interest in the topic of trust, inequality and fairness

Given the skill requirements, this project is suited to students studying one or more of: Economics, Business and Psychology. Applications should clearly list the skills and experience for this project, including familiarity with social science experiments, quantitative skills (such as programming skills), relevant courses, and other experience.

Primary Supervisor:

 Dr David Smerdon

Further info:

For more information, please contact Dr David Smerdon at d.smerdon@uq.edu.au.

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Project title: Is the Queensland real estate market fair?

Project duration, hours of engagement & delivery mode

10 weeks

Expected project commencement:

November 22nd, 2021 or earlier

Number of students:

3

Description:

This project investigates the behavioural economics of the residential real estate market in Queensland. This is a broad project and may suit students studying one or more of: Economics, Psychology, Law, and Business.

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

Depending on the skills and experience of the successful Scholar(s), the project will include one or more of the following elements:

  • Primary data collection: The Scholar will use historical records from Queensland property law and conduct in-person interviews with selected real estate personnel (industry body members, real estate agents, buyers’ agents etc.) to build up a database of: (a) significant regulatory changes to the real estate market in Queensland, and (b) common strategies employed on both the seller and buyer sides to exploit the market.
  • Econometric analysis: The Scholar will combine the primary data with historical sales and listing data (which the Supervisor will provide) to test: (a) the effect of regulatory changes on buyer/seller welfare (as well as ‘fairness’) in the market, (b) the effectiveness of specific buyer/seller strategies.
  • Experimental analysis: The Scholar will create hypotheses about the welfare effects of different market structures (e.g. the form of auctions, the rules around initial listing prices, etc.) under different conditions (e.g. a ‘hot’ market, a ‘cold’ market). This may involve the use of Game Theory, especially around auctions and mechanism design, depending on the skills of the Scholar. The Scholar will then design a laboratory experiment to test these hypotheses. Time permitting, the Scholar may take a lead role in pre-registering the experiment, submitting an ethics application, programming the experiment and/or running the experiment in the BEL labs.
  • Policy report: On the basis of the economic analysis, the Scholar will create a policy report that critically discusses the fairness and welfare implications of the current real estate market in Queensland and makes recommendations for policymakers and legislators.

Suitable for:

This project would suit Scholars with expertise and experience relevant for at least one of the first three bullet points listed above. For example, this could include:

  • Experience in primary data collection, such as proactively contacting and interviewing individuals
  • Experience in econometric analysis, including linear regression and hypothesis testing, and strong skills in cleaning, manipulating, and analysing datasets in statistical software (STATA is preferred, but proficiency in another language such as R, SPSS, SAS and python is also sufficient)
  • Experience in designing, programming and running social science experiments, either in a lab or online
  • Experience in reading through legislation, such as Acts of Parliament, and summarising historical regulatory changes
  • Strong skills in game theoretic modelling, especially related to auctions and/or mechanism design

Applications should clearly list the skills and experience for each relevant element of the project, including quantitative skills (such as statistical software skills), relevant courses, and other experience.

Primary Supervisor:

 Dr David Smerdon

Further info:

For more information, please contact Dr David Smerdon at d.smerdon@uq.edu.au.

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Project title: The effect of rule changes on rugby league match margins

Project duration, hours of engagement & delivery mode

10 weeks

Expected project commencement:

22nd November 2021 or earlier

Number of students:

1

Description:

This project investigates the effect of the “six again” rule change implemented in the 2021 National Rugby League (NRL) season on the closeness of the games. The rule changes were designed to speed up the games and reduce pauses, which was intended to increase spectator enjoyment. However, it is widely believed to have also increased the winning margins, which has lowered the frequency of close matches.

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

The successful Scholar will create a database of NRL seasons over the past ten years, using publicly available NRL statistics. Under guidance from the Supervisor, the Scholar will then run linear regressions and apply event-study econometrics to estimate the effect of the rule change on the closeness of the matches, as well as identify other effects of the rule change on match features.  

Suitable for:

The project is ideally suited to a student with:

  • Excellent skills and experience in econometric analysis, including linear regression and hypothesis testing, and strong skills in cleaning, manipulating, and analysing datasets in statistical software (STATA is preferred, but proficiency in another language such as R, SPSS, SAS and python is also sufficient)

Primary Supervisor:

Dr David Smerdon

Further info:

For more information, please contact Dr David Smerdon at d.smerdon@uq.edu.au.

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Project title: Algorithmic Game Theory Framework for coalitional bargaining

Project duration, hours of engagement & delivery mode

10 weeks

Expected project commencement:

November 15th, 2021

Number of students:

2

Description:

Multilateral bargaining is very common in economic, political and social situations: buyer-seller interaction, firm-labour union negotiations, allocation of the intra-household chores, negotiation among countries, etc. Usually, the economic models studying these multilateral bargaining situations are too complex, hence they do not have closed-form solutions. For policy analysis, comparative statics and empirical applications, we need to compute the equilibria of the models, hence need the tools of algorithmic game theory.

There have been recent and significant advances in algorithmic game theory and their incorporation in multilateral bargaining problems is limited. The aim of this project is to fill this gap and provide algorithms to compute equilibria in multilateral bargaining models. In particular, this project investigates the potential link between the recent algorithms studying the Brown–von Neumann–Nash dynamics to infinite horizon multilateral bargaining models. 

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

The students will gain skills in

  • models in game theory,
  • learning and writing algorithms to compute equilibria in games,
  • do a critical literature review.

Moreover, at the end of this project, the students will also have a clear understanding of the multilateral bargaining models and recent advances in algorithmic game theory as well as exercising rigorous techniques in algorithmic game theory. These will be useful to develop policy analysis and offer the students the possibility to develop a wide research agenda.

Students will be asked to produce weekly reports, and a final document at the end of the project. Students will be asked to review literature, understand and discuss multilateral bargaining models, algorithms in Brown–von Neumann–Nash dynamics, collect data, write codes and read proofs when necessary.

Suitable for:

The project is open to applications from students with a background in economics, applied mathematics or computer science. Applicants should already possess basic programming skills. In particular, competence with Python or Matlab is mandatory. Students who have taken game theory and intermediate (advanced) microeconomics courses will be given priority.

Primary Supervisor:

Dr Metin Uyanik

Further info:

Candidates interests in applying to the project can write to m.uyanik@uq.edu.au if they have specific inquiries about the project.

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Project title: Australian housing market: Modelling urban renewal and common property sales

Project duration, hours of engagement & delivery mode

10 weeks

Expected project commencement:

November 15th, 2021

Number of students:

2

Description:

In cities, the main type of housing is multi-owned properties, i.e., stratas. Due to urban renewal, population/migration increase and the fact that many stratas are ageing and need costly repairs, the need for new methods to realize faster strata sales has emerged.  In 2016, NSW passed legislation that allows for collective strata sale if at least 75% of owners agree. Following this, by end of 2019, WA also passed a similar quota-method where 80% agreement needs to be obtained to collectively sell stratas. The problem with the quota rule is that it violates the property rights of the owners who didn’t agree on the sale. This is especially not desirable when vulnerable citizens (e.g. elderly) who can’t efficiently bargain with developers are in question. As a result, the new methods have not been widely used in NSW and WA, and when it is used, in some cases it resulted in court cases where the dissenting owners argued the process was not fair. Hence, effectiveness of new legislation to increase sales is not known.

Collective sale is a problem where a buyer must assemble multiple inputs that are perfectly complementary in order to produce an output where failure to obtain one of these inputs prevents production.  For collective strata sales, two different types of legislative methods are used in different states of Australia for strata sales: 100% agreement method and quota method (75% agreement in NSW and 80% in WA). There is currently no theoretical or applied economics research to analyse alternative methods of collective sales. This project aims to investigate which of these methods above are optimal in terms of maximizing sales, social welfare and minimizing disputes among sellers.

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

The students will gain skills in data collection, applications of models in game theory. Moreover, at the end of this project, the students will also have a clear understanding of modelling collective sales, and exercise rigorous techniques in game theory and microeconomics. These will be useful to develop policy analysis and offer the students the possibility to develop a research agenda.

Students will be asked to produce weekly reports, and a final document at the end of the project. Students will be asked to review literature, work with basic examples, collect data and read proofs when necessary.

Suitable for:

The project is open to applications from students with a background in economics, law and applied mathematics. Students who have taken game theory and intermediate (advanced) microeconomics courses will be given priority. Students with abilities to program in Matlab or a similar language, will be given priority.

Primary Supervisor:

 Dr Metin Uyanik

Further info:

Candidates interests in applying to the project can write to m.uyanik@uq.edu.au if they have specific inquiries about the project.

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Project title: Perceptions of rare events

Project duration, hours of engagement & delivery mode

10 weeks

Expected project commencement:

Mid-November

Number of students:

2

Description:

The subjective perception of low probability events such as a plane crash or developing rare blood clots after receiving a Covid-19 vaccine is a crucial part of decision making. However, probabilities about extreme events can be challenging to infer statistically and disentangling probability perceptions from attitudes towards risk presents a problem.

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

The purpose of this project is to develop a robust and intuitive methodology to elicit subjective probability judgments about rare events. The scholar will review the relevant literature, critically analyse existing methodologies, and contribute to developing and experimentally testing novel methods.

Suitable for:

 

Primary Supervisor:

Kenan Kalayci

Further info:

For more information please contact Kenan Kalayci at k.kalayci@uq.edu.au.

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Project title: Grading, education quality, and job market

Project duration, hours of engagement & delivery mode

10 weeks

Expected project commencement:

November 15th, 2021

Number of students:

2

Description:

This project proposes a strategic model of education. We consider the problem of a dean that tries to design an optimal compensation policy to incentivize a professor and a student to exert effort in the classroom when both the professor and the student have private information about their respective abilities. Importantly, the action of the professor not only affects her payoff, but also affects the payoff of the student by reducing the cost he has to incur to exert effort.  We model the dean's choice of policies as a principal-agent model problem under adverse selection, multidimensional types, and positive externalities.  

The student and the professor interact in the classroom where the professor tries to pass her knowledge to the student by teaching a predefined set of contents. The professor can make investments to improve the quality of the students' learning experience (e.g., improving the lecture notes, tutoring outside the class, and selecting effective assessment tasks, among many others), whereas the student can exert effort to absorb the contents taught. We assume that the action of the professor impacts the student's cost to exert effort but does not affect the course curricula, which is established by the university authorities.

The objective of this project is to study this model and characterize its equilibria in terms of the optimal compensation policy provided by the dean, and the optimal strategies chosen by the student and the professor. This project contributes to the active and frontier research on modelling education in a strategic interaction framework and has significant political and empirical implications. 

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

Applicants will do a thorough literature review, learn models in game theory, especially signalling and multi-dimensional screening models. This literature deals with problems in which agents have to send a message about their private information to a receptor, and a receptor takes an action that affects both the payoff of the sender and the payoff of the receptor. Examples in this literature include the design of platforms in electoral competitions, choice of offers in bargaining, design of advertising campaigns, choice of bids in take-over auctions, and litigation schemes in jury trials, among many others. These topics are of high interest for policymakers in Australia since they provide suitable models to analyse and predict human and firm behaviour under uncertainty. Moreover, this project offers the applicants the possibility to develop a wide research agenda.

Applicants will also be trained on how to approach a very applied problem with the rigour of microeconomic techniques. Especially those related to game theory, information economics and optimization.

Applicants will also learn how to develop algorithms for matching problems in Python, Matlab or any related language.

Applicants will also be trained on how to collect and process data relevant to the education market.

We expect the applicants to be able to do a review of literature, understand the essence of the problem, work with easy examples, write algorithms for those examples, and read proofs when necessary.

Suitable for:

The project is suitable for a student with a background in economics, applied mathematics or computer science. Preferably (but not necessary), students who have taken intermediate (advanced) microeconomics as undergraduates.

Primary Supervisor:

Dr. Allan Hernandez-Chanto and Dr. Metin Uyanik

Further info:

Candidates interested in applying to the project can write to a.hernandezchanto@uq.edu.au or metin.uyanik@uq.edu.au, if they have specific inquiries about the project.

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Project title: Empirical security-bid auctions

Project duration, hours of engagement & delivery mode

10 weeks

Expected project commencement

November 15th, 2021

Number of students:

3

Description:

Every year, hundreds of public and private organisations around the world sell the rights to control projects (assets) that are worth millions of dollars. For instance, governments allocate the rights to exploit natural resources (e.g., oil, gas, and timber), construct and operate public infrastructure (e.g., ports or highways), and use their national electromagnetic spectrum. Likewise, corporations sell the rights to control companies via take-over operations, and entrepreneurs compete for resources from venture capital firms. In all these examples, sellers can use either standard cash auctions, or auctions in which the payment received is conditioned on the revenue generated by the project once it is implemented. Contingent payments are viable whenever the project to be allocated generates verifiable cash flows over which is possible to contract. When this is the case, sellers can use financial instruments (securities), other than cash, to secure the payment from winning bidders.

 

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

In this project, it is expected that the student gets involved in the collection of data for oil-lease, highway construction and timber auctions in Australia, the USA and Europe. The aim is to construct a database that permits to test empirically the incentives of bidding firms to join auctions when securities are utilised. Once the collection of the data is done, it is expected that the student conducts empirical analyses using reduced-form and structural estimation techniques. Ideally, the successful candidate would be proficient with the use of one or more of the following languages: Stata, Matlab, R, and Python. 

Suitable for:

The project is suitable for a student with a background in economics, finance, applied mathematics, or computer science. Preferably (but not necessary), students who have taken intermediate (advanced) microeconomics as undergraduates. Ideally, students will be familiar with at least one of the following packages: Stata, R, Matlab, Python.

Primary Supervisor:

Dr. Allan Hernandez-Chanto

Further info:

Candidates interested in applying to the project can write to a.hernandezchanto@uq.edu.au  if they have specific inquiries about the project.

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Project title: Empirical take-over auctions

Project duration, hours of engagement & delivery mode

10 weeks

Expected project commencement:

November 15th, 2021

Number of students:

3

Description:

The market for corporate control is one of the largest financial markets. In 2019 alone, the value of the merger and acquisition (M&A) transactions amounted to 3.7 trillion worldwide. While some boards of directors prefer a negotiation with a single firm to sell a target firm, many prefer to conduct an auction to feature competition among several bidders. Unlike standard auctions, in which all bids and payments are made in cash, in takeover auctions, firms can bid using securities (i.e., diverse instruments) to compete and finance the acquisition of the target. Examples of these securities include equity, asset swaps, collateralized debt, and stapled finance, among many others. Because bidders normally choose different combinations of these securities to express their bids, the rules of the auction are informal in real life. That is, since it is not possible to order bids, the seller must form beliefs about the true bidders' valuation of the target firm to assess each bid and choose the most attractive bid ex-post.

The literature of auctions with securities is inconclusive regarding the choice of bidders' securities and the seller's choice of winning bids. On the one hand, De Marzo, Kremer, and Skrzypacz (American Economic Review, 2005, DKS hereafter) conclude that when bidders are risk-neutral, all equilibrium bids should be done in cash or using the flattest security in the menu (i.e., the security that is less sensitive to bidders' true valuation). However, this theoretical result does not coincide with the myriad of securities used in this kind of auction (Betton et. al, 2008, Handbook of Corporate Finance). On the other hand, Hernandez-Chanto and Fioriti (Management Science, forthcoming) suggests that one way to reconcile both results is to consider risk-averse bidders because the payment structure of each security will offer different degrees of insurance that would have different values for bidders that are heterogeneous in their risk-aversion level.

The proposed project attempts to collect information on take-over auctions of firms that trade publicly in Australia, China, and the USA. Along with the specifics of the auctions, the project aims to collect covariates of the bidding firms (e.g., valuation of the firm, assets, liabilities, number of employers, CEO’s characteristics, etc), with the objective of empirically testing the claim that “more-risk-averse firms” tend to choose steeper securities (in the sense of DKS), whereas “less-risk-averse” firms tend to choose bids in cash.

Expected outcomes and deliverables:

Applicants will build a database of take-over auctions in Australia, the USA, and China that contains not only information about the auctions (format, securities used, winning bid, number of bidders, etc), but also information about bidders (firm’s portfolio, size of the firms, covariates of the CEO). The student will review the literature of auctions with securities, and, especially, take-over auctions, to be familiar with the problem at hand.

Suitable for:

The project is suitable for a student with a background in economics, finance, applied mathematics, or computer science. Preferably (but not necessary), students who have taken intermediate (advanced) microeconomics as undergraduates. Ideally, students will be familiar with at least one of the following packages: Stata, R, Matlab, Python.

Primary Supervisor:

Dr. Allan Hernandez-Chanto

Further info:

Candidates interested in applying to the project can write to a.hernandezchanto@uq.edu.au  if they have specific inquiries about the project.

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