Doctor of Philosophy candidate
She is enjoying doing research on labour and welfare economics, says Ye (Zoe) Ye who came to AUT as an international student from China to study a PhD in economics.
“As I studied actuarial science for my master’s degree, I have a strong interest in the social welfare system, especially related to people who are facing retirement.
“For my PhD research, I’m investigating the correlation between labour supply behaviour and receiving New Zealand Superannuation. I’d like to compare the structural changes in the labour force and its effects on the New Zealand retirement system with other countries.”
Zoe’s research is supervised by Professor Tim Maloney and Professor Rhema Vaithianathan from AUT’s School of Social Sciences and Public Policy.
A supportive research environment
The guidance offered by her supervisors has been the highlight of her studies, Zoe says.
“I initially chose AUT because it had a very good supervision team. My supervisors have always been trying to help me grow my own ideas, and I was guided to ensure my research is on the right track. They’ve always been patient in answering my questions and making the complex concepts easy to understand. The discussions with them have been very motivating and inspiring.”
She has enjoyed the opportunity to work closely with the AUT Centre for Social Data Analytics (CSDA) for her doctoral research.
“My CSDA colleagues are all very experienced in research. I often discuss some of my research problems with them, and they will give me useful suggestions. I also get inspiration from attending some of the CSDA seminars and workshops.”
Advice for other students
Planning to dedicate herself to her academic career once she finishes her PhD later this year, Zoe has some great advice for other students.
“My advice is to find every chance to ask questions from your lecturer, classmates or supervisors. If you’re ever stuck with your research, try to have a discussion with other people. It will help make your thoughts clear.”
The discussions with her supervisors have been full of lightbulb moments, she says.
“I get so many inspirations from the discussions with my supervisors. It’s not like attending a lecture; it’s a communication of thoughts. The discussions often remind me how fascinating and important the research is. This brings me joy and stimulates me to work harder.”