Overview - Public Policy Studies | Lee Kuan Yew School |


The Lee Kuan Yew School is committed to producing innovative and rigorous research that contributes both to scholarly inquiry as well as policy making in Asia. The research agenda is wide ranging, inter-disciplinary, and methodologically pluralistic, and is strongly oriented towards comparative study, with particular expertise in China and Southeast Asia.

Asia is in the midst of an enormous shift, perhaps the greatest shift since the middle of the 20th century. This is a result of domestic reforms, the end of the Cold War, the spread of globalization, and, most recently, significant and ongoing changes in the international political and economic order of the past half century.

Countries across the region are experiencing many simultaneous transitions – a development and demographic transition, a social transition (in healthcare, social security, and urbanisation), a governance transition (with implications for the management of public organisations), an environmental and resource demand transition (energy, water), 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.

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

  • Major power relations and global governance
  • Social policy in Asia
  • Water governance, environment and cities
  • Competitiveness in Asia
  • Policy studies, public management and governance

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

  • The Asia Competitiveness InstituteA major focus of the institute is sub-national analysis of competitiveness within China, India, Indonesia, 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 areas of research 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 financial 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 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.



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