Most of my research deal with the effect of digitalisation on human capital dynamics, especially in the context of a highly interconnected global economy. Recently, my research interests have led me to questioning the philosophico-methodological foundations of economic theorising which have an almost direct way of shaping pedagogy and, ultimately, how future economists practice not just the science, but also the art and craft of economics.
We Heal as One: Collective intentionality as a building block for the necessary and urgent reformation of economics in the New Normal
Asia-Pacific Social Science Review, September 2021.
I present an alternative to methodological individualism and the assumption of instrumentally rational individuals that dominates much of mainstream economic theorising. Following mainly Davis’ corpus of work on the socially embedded individual, I argue that methodological individualism no longer works, especially when the alternative view of socially embedded individuals holds even stronger explanatory and prescriptive power. The current Coronavirus pandemic experience is used both as a backdrop to this proposed change and as a live case through which collective intentionality is appreciated to be more superior than instrumental rationality. I discuss collective intentionality as a mediating feature of the socially embedded individual to participate in collective action and provide necessary and sufficient conditions, developing a synthesis of magisterial contributions to the literature of collective intentionality in terms of its structure, content and mode. I also provide a recommendation on how its normative feature can be used in dispensing the art and craft of economics that is in tune with the demands of changing economic realities triggered by the pandemic.
Can Innovation Save Us? Understanding the Role of Innovation in Mitigating the COVID-19 Pandemic in ASEAN-5 Economies
with Joshua Layos, DLSU Business Notes and Briefings, July 2020.
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic raises the question of whether innovation can save humanity. Indeed, innovation is the path towards finding solutions such as vaccines, treatments and policies that mitigate the further spread of the virus. Since the announcement of a global pandemic on March 12, 2020, countries with relatively high levels of innovation remain high on the world rankings on new cases and deaths while countries considered relatively lower in innovation are not. We test the relationship between innovation systems and the ability of its pre-epidemic state to address the pandemic. We use a two-step System Generalized Method of Moments (GMM) to test this relationship using cases from the ASEAN-5 economies and their respective levels of innovation as reported in the Global Innovation Index. We find that the relationship between the level of innovation and a country’s ability to respond to the crisis to be significant and positive. We also find that search interest, an indicator of market response within an innovation context, to have a significant negative relationship with crisis management. We provide some preliminary analyses and insights on these two key findings as well as policy recommendations on building resilience through innovation systems.
Learning With Friends: A Rational View of Remote Learning with Network Externalities in the Time of Covid-19
with Dickson Lim, DLSU-AKI Policy Brief, Volume XIII, No. 5, April 2020.
We model a learning community, composed of several homogenous and rational individuals, using a model of human capital accumulation. Human capital or, more appropriately for our study, education is considered as an investment by the individuals within the learning community, and that it will accrue returns in the future. We augment connectivism and our human capital accumulation model with the concept of network externality in consumer demand (Rohlf, 1974). This approach allows us to model the returns to education to be dependent on the number of participants within the learning community. This feature of the model implies that relatively large learning networks to have comparative higher returns, which then results in a greater degree of participation in the learning community.
An ASEAN Digital Single Market: Boosting the Aspiration for a Single Market in the Digital Era
DLSU-AKI Working Paper Series 2019-08-058, December 2018. Presented to the Western Economic Association International 15th International Conference at Keio University, Tokyo, Japan.
Advancements in information and communications technologies have changed the way individuals, firms, and nations create and exchange value across borders. Value comes in the form of goods, services, information, and data, but may also include talent, capital, ideas, and even culture. Southeast Asia is a thriving digital economy with the prospect of becoming a US$200B economy by 2025. However, new forms of protectionist measures arise, which may impede the free flow of value within the region. An aspirational digital single market concept and the changing dynamics of digital trade are explored. A digital economic integration framework that is interoperable, inclusive, and agile is proposed to address both barriers to the creation of an ASEAN digital single market. Requisite conditions for policy solutions are identified, and an empowered digital transformation board with the task of leading the change agenda is proposed as a critical governance enabler across the region.