by José R. Sánchez-Fung, Assistant Professor in Economics at University of Nottingham China (Ningbo) and Associate Fellow of ILAS
I am currently a full-time member of the economics faculty at the University of Nottingham’s Business School in Ningbo, China. I moved to Ningbo last year after teaching economics for over a decade at Kingston University in London. Parallel to the post at Kingston, in 2008 I became an Associate Fellow of the University of London’s Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS). The association with ILAS derives from a long-term research agenda concentrating on the economy of my native Dominican Republic and on other Latin American countries.
Colleagues and friends tend to ask the same question following the move to Nottingham-Ningbo: Do your academic research activities benefit from being in China?
Given my interest in emerging markets and developing economies, it turns out that being in China positively affects what is called the research environment. What follows illustrates the situation with three examples relating to the development of topics in my ongoing research agenda.
My arrival in Ningbo coincided with the final stage in the process of organizing an ILAS-INTEC-sponsored workshop on the Dominican Republic’s economy, held on 7 November 2014 at the University of London’s Senate House. Operating from China provided a unique perspective while revising my own work and subsequently editing a selection of the contributions for publication in Ciencia y Sociedad – a scholarly journal based at INTEC in the Dominican Republic. Particularly, analyses about the expected recovery from the economic crisis affecting the advanced economies since 2007-2009 crucially depend on China’s performance. And that, in turn, affects prospects for economies around the globe including the Dominican Republic.
Monetary policy, and particularly central banks and their policies, is a key topic in my research agenda. Thinking about monetary policy in the Dominican Republic and in China actually involves many common elements. And that should not be surprising as both are developing economies. For example, in contrast to what happens in advanced, open economies, like the United Kingdom, in China and in the Dominican Republic the central bank pays more attention to fluctuations in the exchange rate. I have published articles about monetary policy in China and in the Dominican Republic, and remain active in the field; a working paper published in 2015 by the Bank of Finland contains preliminary findings from estimating the impact of monetary policy on inequality in China. So, following how the People’s Bank of China implements monetary policy on a day-to-day basis and from a local perspective adds a welcome perspective to my research activity.
Another project I have been working on during the past year is the analysis of the relationship between aggregate economic performance and pollution of the natural environment -as measured by the volume of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions- in the Dominican Republic. As noted in my work on the topic, fostering the conditions to attain economic growth and development is a chief objective for governments across the world. However, in pursuing that goal close attention has to be paid to the limits imposed on the pace of economic growth and development by numerous factors, including the possible adverse impact on the natural environment and the policies needed to reverse the damages.
The Dominican Republic is an interesting case to study given that it has been successful in implementing policies to preserve the natural environment. Concomitantly, as is well known, dealing with pollution is a pressing topic in China and for that reason my research has provided fruitful opportunities to discuss similarities between the two countries. In that regard, in 2014 I was invited by Fudan University in Shanghai to discuss preliminary findings concerning the existence of an environmental Kuznets curve for the Dominican Republic. I also discussed the investigation in Ningbo at a research event organized in 2015 by the University of Nottingham Business School’s Department of Quantitative and Applied Economics.
Academic research demands perseverance, in addition to tangible and intangible factors that can positively contribute to building a fruitful research programme. The research environment is a vital element to consider. In my case, China is providing an encouraging setting from which to carry out academic research and the prospects for the future are positive.
 INTEC: Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo, a leading higher education institution in the Dominican Republic (www.intec.edu.do/).
Ciencia y Sociedad (2015) Forthcoming, October-December, volume 30, number 3, pages 459-646. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. [RD ISSN 0378-7680]
Mehrotra, Aaron, and José R. Sánchez-Fung (2014) China’s monetary policy and the exchange rate, Chapter 9 in: Brada, Josef C., Paul Wachtel and Dennis Yang (Eds.) China’s economic development, Palgrave Readers in Economics, Palgrave Macmillan, UK.
Sánchez-Fung, José R. (2015) Estimating environmental Kuznets curves for developing countries: The case of the Dominican Republic. Mimeo, University of Nottingham, Department of Quantitative and Applied Economics, Business School, Ningbo, China.
Sánchez-Fung, José R. (2015) Estimating the impact of monetary policy on inequality in China. Bank of Finland BOFIT Discussion Papers, no. 17/2015. Helsinki, Finland.