Overview - Public Policy Studies | Lee Kuan Yew School |


The School is committed to producing innovative and rigorous research that contributes both to scholarly inquiry as well as policy making. The faculty’s research agenda has considerable depth and is published internationally at the highest levels. Faculty also publish in more popular media and are regular contributors to public affairs television and radio as well.

Faculty research can be divided into six broad areas that reflect a transitioning Asia:

  • Development policy
  • International/regional economy
  • Social policy
  • Public management
  • Energy, environment, and water policy
  • International relations

Asia is in the midst of an enormous shift, perhaps the greatest shift since the late 1940s/early 1950s. This shift was caused by domestic reforms, the end of the Cold War, and globalization, producing unprecedented economic growth. As a result, Asian countries are experiencing several transitions – a development and demographic transition, a social transition (in healthcare, social security, urbanisation), a governance transition (with implications for the management of public organisations), a resource demand transition (energy, water), an environmental transition as a result of economic growth and greater resource use, and an international power transition (with the rise of China, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam). Faculty research is strongly focused on these areas and draws on a range of theoretical, conceptual, methodological, and disciplinary tools and perspectives.

The School also has four Research Centres which align closely with faculty research:

  • The Asia Competitiveness InstituteA major focus of the institute is comparisons of competitiveness within China, India, Indonesia, Burma, and ASEAN. Other areas of research include rating the most liveable cities internationally, income disparities in Asia, financial reforms in ASEAN, fiscal sustainability in Asia, and intellectual property rights and competitiveness.
  • The Centre for Asia and GlobalisationThe centre is dedicated to the study of rising Asia in a globalized world. Major thrust areas are China’s foreign relations particularly in Asia, China-India relations, the energy and environmental policies of the major Asian countries, the development of Russia’s Far East, and new approaches to building markets in Asia.
  • The Institute for Policy StudiesThe institute has for many years advised the Singapore government on a range of policy areas. It is currently engaged in three major areas of study: IPS Prism (the future of governance in Singapore), Population Projections II (the impact of immigration on capital, labour, infrastructure, and fiscal policy), and the IPS Social Lab (which is producing surveys of Singapore public opinion).
  • The Institute of Water PolicyThe institute deals with water policy issues in Asia and beyond. Its research agenda presently includes studies of water demand, impact assessment of water projects/policies, water pricing, randomised experiments to assess policy interventions, and documenting the lessons from Singapore’s water successes.

In summary, the School’s research agenda is wide ranging, inter-disciplinary, and methodologically pluralistic. Its research effort seeks to advance theoretical and conceptual inquiry in public policy studies and also to contribute to better public policy practices in Asia. It is strongly oriented towards comparative study, with particular expertise in China and Southeast Asia.

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