Of Rice and Men: Rice Consumption-based Estimates of Undocumented Persons in Malaysia

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With great pleasure, the Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya cordially invites you to the 



Of Rice and Men: Rice Consumption-based Estimates of Undocumented Persons in Malaysia




Stewart Nixon     


Friday, 21 February 2020, 10.00 am


Postgraduate Conference Room, 3rd Floor Block H12, Postgraduate Building, Faculty of Economics and Administration, UM  



Quantifying undocumented populations is a persistent challenge for researchers and policymakers, hampering efforts to analyse the causes of unofficial people movements and the effectiveness of policy responses. Malaysia exemplifies the struggles of a geographically exposed and institutionally constrained country attempting to manage undocumented immigration through policies based on speculative data and little to no evaluation. To provide a stronger foundation for historical policy analysis, this study estimated Malaysia’s undocumented (non-census) population from 1963-2017 by modelling the relationship between rice consumption per capita and economic development. The modelled relationship together with known rice consumption patterns imply an undocumented population larger than available guesstimates. The findings suggest immigration policies have had limited success in deterring informality, while also implying lower average per capita incomes and development outcomes than according to official data. They may also offer a guide to the degree of underestimation bias affecting undocumented population estimates globally.          

About the speaker:

Stewart Nixon is an economist, researcher and public policy analyst, completing graduate study at the Australian National University. His background includes more than a decade of economic policy advisory at the Australian Treasury and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). There he was a founding member of the OECD’s Southeast Asia desk and co-author of its first Economic Survey of Malaysia in 2016. He is undertaking an extended research visit to Universiti Malaya exploring the optimisation of migration and foreign direct investment policies in the Asia-Pacific region.

Nov 05, 2020 10.00 AM - 12.00 AM Faculty of Economics and Administration, University of Malaya. Postgraduate Conference Room, Level 3, Postgraduate Building, Faculty of Economics and Administration