With its goal to become a leading research university in the country and region, Vietnamese-German University always tries to provide the best condition and environment for the researcher and student to execute their projects. Follow on this mission, The President of VGU issued a regulation on the student research activities, which took effect from 22nd May 2020.

1. Objectives of the student research activities

A tier 1 research university needs to encourage its students to take part in professional research activities more, due to the following objectives:
1. To improve the training quality of human resources contributing to discover and foster young talents for the country, especially in the fields of engineering, economics, and other areas following the development of the substantial study programs at the university.
2. To meet student research requirements and aspirations, to promote dynamism, creativity, independent research capacity of students, and build up self-learning competence of students, gain the learning goal of the course.
3. To improve logical and critical thinking ability as well as scientific report reading, writing, and presentation skills.
4. To make efficient use of the potential well-equipped and advanced laboratories, apply scientific and technical achievements to solve practical problems in life-related to the field of training.
5. To help students acquire scientific knowledge and foundations, further develop learning, teaching, and research activities.
6. To contribute to the creation of new scientific-technological products for society.


The student research demand should be considered when developing a plan

2. How to deploy the student research plan at a research university

2.1 Development of student research plan

The Research Management Department (RMD) announces student research programs to the Faculties as well as calls VGU students for application and submission of research project proposals up to 4 times per year. Besides, students are encouraged to submit research proposals anytime during the year.

Based on the number of student research projects in the previous years, RMD shall work with the Finance and Accounting Department (FAD) for the cost estimation and allocation for student research activities and submit to the PB for approval. This will be considered in line with PB’s plan to improve VGU research university rankings.

The student research plan must conform to the Faculties and university’s research orientation, including:

a. Determine the research focus, finalize the list of proposals, assign projects, implement projects, and evaluate the research result according to this regulation and regulations of Vietnam.
b. Organize an annual student research conference and other forms of student research activities.
c. Organize and participate in the research events and contests for students.
d. Organize and support students to have research results published, apply scientific and technological advances into practice.

2.2 Determine and conduct the proposed projects

Students propose student research topics and discuss them with an appropriate supervisor.
For those who wish to conduct scientific research but have not found an appropriate supervisor can make a request to the Faculty asking for proper supervisors.

Once the supervisor agrees and finalizes the proposal, students will submit their research proposals form to the RMD (form provided).

RMD is responsible for selecting a list of research proposals, coordinating with the Faculties to propose the establishment of Evaluation Committees for evaluating the proposals, based on that the PB decides to give the student’s research assignments.

The student research project evaluation committee consists of 5 members: 1 Chairman/Chairwoman, 4 members. The Chairperson is either the Dean or Vice-Dean or a lecturer who has solid background and experiences on the registered research topics; the other 3 members are either VGU lecturers or from outside, whereas the last member is an administrative clerk.

2.3 Inspection of the student research project

a. All of the student research projects have to be completed and inspected by the expiry date of the contract. If the project is not completed in due time because of objective reasons, the PI should contact the supervisor and RMD for a project extension.

The extension is only accepted one (01) time and no more than 3 months. After completing the research content and being approved by the supervisor, the PI submits documents to RMD for project inspection; required documents consist of:
– Final report.
– Project outcomes and proofs.

b. RMD shall coordinate with the faculties to propose to the PB to issue a decision on setting up an evaluation committee for student research project inspection.

The evaluation committee includes 05 members: Chairman/Chairwoman, 02 Appraisers, 01 Committee-man/Committee-woman, and 01 Clerk (form provided by RMD).

c. Based on the final report and research outcomes, the evaluation committee decides on assessing and grading the project.

d. Evaluation members assess independently by giving grades to each content in the evaluation form. The final assessment is the average grade of all members. The project is graded at 05 levels as follows:

– Excellent: ≥ 90;
– Very good: from 80 to under 90;
– Good: from 70 to under 80;
– Average: from 60 to under 70;
– Failed: under 60.

e. The result of the assessment is stated explicitly in the evaluation meeting minutes.

f. Based on the evaluation result, the committee proposes the project to participate in the scientific research award of VGU students and/or other international/ national scientific research awards for students. Or decide on handling unsatisfactory research projects.


VGU aims to become a leading research university in the country and region

3. Other details on executing the student research plan

The excellent and valuable research will be considered for VGU’s annual student research award. Every year, RMD selects the list of notable student research topics to the PB for awarding.

VGU organizes the annual student research conference with the following contents:

1. Summarizing and evaluating student research activities;

2. Presenting the results of outstanding research projects;

3. The annual student research conference is held in the first semester every year.

RMD and the Industrial Relations and Technology Transfer Center (IR&TTC) encourage and offer supportive conditions for students to apply scientific and technological advances into practice from the results of their research.

VGU manages the collection, processing, archives, and dissemination of scientific and technological information of student activities which includes:

1. Manage and archive the results/products of student research projects in the library information system of the university.

2. Announce and publish the student research topics results as stipulated in the current regulations and on VGU’s home page and other public media.

With this new regulation, VGU hopes to encourage more students to participate in professional research activities, bring in innovative ideas, and create a solid base for a research university.


Workshop in Warsaw

On May 12-18, 2019 in Warsaw, Poland, the Ronald Coase Institute held a workshop on institutional analysis. The Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw; the Rector of the University of Warsaw; and the University of Warsaw Foundation were co-sponsors.

Workshop faculty included Robert Aliber (University of Chicago), Ido Baum (Haim Striks School of Law), Alexandra Benham (Ronald Coase Institute), Lee Benham (Ronald Coase Institute), Lukasz Hardt (Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw), P.J. Hill (Wheaton College), Philip Keefer (Inter-American Development Bank), Katrina Kosec (International Food Policy Research Institute), John Nye (George Mason University), Dominic Parker (University of Wisconsin – Madison), Maroš Servátka (Macquarie Graduate School of Management), Mary Shirley (Ronald Coase Institute), Agnieska Slomka-Golebiowska (Warsaw School of Economics), and Chenggang Xu (Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business).

2019 Panel at SIOE Conference

June 28, 2019
Stockholm School of Economics, Stockholm, Sweden

Workshop alumni Alessandro Belmonte, Wentian Diao, Egor Lazarev, and Maiting Zhuang presented papers at a session on facets of autocracy at the 2019 SIOE conference. Mary Shirley was the organizer and chair, and Konstantin Sonin was the commentator.


The Political Economy of Collective Memories:
Evidence from Russian Politics
Alessandro Belmonte
IMT Lucca & University of Warwick
Michael Rochlitz, University of Bremen

How do political elites reactivate salient collective memories to entrench their power? We study this question using data from the Russian Federation under Putin. We document a substantial recollection campaign of the traumatic transition the Russian population experienced during the 1990s, starting with the year 2003. We combine this time discontinuity in the recollection of negative collective memories with regional-level information about traumatic experiences of the 1990s. Our results show that Russians vote more for the government, and less for the liberal political opposition, in regions that suffered more during the transition period, once memories from the period are recalled on state-controlled media. We then provide additional evidence on the mechanism and find, using a text analysis of 3,832 local newspapers, that recollection of the chaos of the 1990s in local newspapers is associated with higher electoral support for the government.

Do “Stationary Bandits” Promote Economic Growth?
Evidence from Warlords in Early Twentieth Century China
Wentian Diao
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Do warlords, as substitutes for the state or “stationary bandits” in the sense of Mancur Olson, promote economic growth? This paper provides evidence on the warlords’ significant positive effect on China’s economic growth in the early twentieth century. By treating the sudden death of Yuan Shikai (1859-1916), “the Father of Warlords”, as a quasi-natural experiment, I find that firms in counties occupied by warlords (i.e., with at least one garrison there) grew faster than counties without such warlords during the succeeding Warlord Era (1916-1927). To exclude potential reverse causality I use the distribution of the New Army garrisons, the national military forces in the previous empire, as an instrumental variable. The results of the instrumental variable estimation are consistent with the baseline results. The evidence supports the positive effect of warlords, both directly through investment and indirectly through the provision of public goods, reduction of the tax burden, and maintenance of social stability. These results are consistent with Mancur Olson’s argument that stationary bandit has an encompass interest to provide a peaceful order and other public goods in exchange for taxation. The heterogeneous effects of warlords are also examined. The empirical results suggest that the positive effect of warlords is weakened in those counties that (1) were more easily attacked by others, causing warlords to become short-sighted and less likely to promote growth, as Olson argued, and (2) had abundant mineral resources that could be easily exploited without the need to promote broader development, consistent with the resource curse argument.

Authoritarian Pluralism: Why Does the Chechen Government
Promote Customary Law and Sharia?
Egor Lazarev
University of Toronto

When and why do authoritarian governments in the post-colonial states promote non-state legal orders, such as customary law and Sharia, that seemingly undermine state monopoly on rule-making and enforcement? The conventional wisdom is that non-state legal orders persist in post-colonial settings due to weak state capacity, path dependency, or culture. In contrast, I argue that promotion of non-state legal orders is a rational political strategy pursued by political leaders who aim for 1) gaining additional legitimacy; 2) increasing discretion; 3) coalition-building, and 4) signaling autonomy vis-à-vis the metropole. If the benefits are so appealing, why then do some political leaders pursue this strategy, while others don’t? I assume that the major costs for a ruler are that non-state legal forums might be hijacked by the challengers to their rule and that the metropole might punish the peripheral leaders for undermining the established legal order. Therefore, I argue that the promotion of non-state legal orders depends on the relative strength of the authoritarian ruler vis-à-vis the potential local opposition and the metropole. I develop this argument with an in-depth analysis of Chechnya under Ramzan Kadyrov’s rule (2007-present). I put contemporary Chechnya in historical and comparative perspectives with the de facto independent Chechnya (1991-1999) and the neighboring region of Ingushetia. The analysis highlights the political logic of informal institution-building.

Economic Performance, Land Expropriation
and Bureaucrat Promotion in China
Paul Dutronc-Postel, Paris School of Economics/ENS
Maiting Zhuang
Paris School of Economics/EHESS

We assess the effectiveness of using career incentives to motivate bureaucrat performance. We collect data on the career history of all Chinese Communist Party (CCP) secretaries, who were in power in any of China’s 334 prefectures between 1996 and 2014. We identify the causal effect of career incentives on performance by exploiting variation in the competitiveness of promotions. We find that increased promotion incentives cause bureaucrats to adopt a strategy that relies on real estate investment and rural land expropriation, resulting in faster overall GDP growth; but also suggestive evidence that they lower investment in education and health. We corroborate our findings using survey and remote sensing data, and present evidence that expropriations are positively correlated with adverse individual outcomes, with arrests of local officials, and with the emergence of “ghost cities”.