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Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund (SYLFF)

The Ryoichi Sasakawa Young Leaders Fellowship Fund Program (SYLFF) was established in 1987 by The Nippon Foundation to provide fellowships to students enrolled in masters and doctoral degree programs around the world in social sciences, humanities, and the performing arts. The University of Michigan Department of Economics has been a participant in the SYLFF program since 1991.


Christian Proebsting

Christian Pröbsting is a Ph.D. candidate in economics at the University of Michigan. His research interests lie in the area of International Finance and mainly focus on the transmission of the Great Recession in Europe. Part of his dissertation looks at rm-level adjustments in countries experiencing deep recessions and capital outows. He shows that the observed drop in aggregate TFP can be rationalized in a model with rms that dier in their productivity, and tests this model using rm-level data from Estonia. Another part of his dissertation examines cross-country dierences in economic performance during and after the crisis, and analyzes the welfare costs of monetary and scal policy in a multi-country DSGE model. Prior to starting his Ph.D., Christian received a Diploma (M.A. equivalent) in International Economics from the University of Tübingen in Germany.

Joshua Greenberg

Josh Greenberg is a PhD candidate in economics at the University of Michigan with interests in health and development.  He is enrolled in the combined MD/PhD program and will complete the final two years of medical school following his PhD.  Josh’s current research examines the resolution of uncertainty and the process of belief formation, focusing specifically on the impact of pregnancy tests on reproductive health beliefs and behavior in Uganda.  With two cross-cut randomized interventions to relax both demand constraints (information) and supply constraints (complementary health goods), the research aims to understand the underlying process of pregnancy status belief formation and updating and to characterize the effects of the interventions on reproductive health behaviors and the value of information. Virtually all of Josh’s research pursuits originate from his experience working in Uganda, where he runs Progressive Health Partnership (, a non-profit organization that takes a systems-based approach to improving health in its rural partner communities.  Josh holds a B.S. in Global Health from Duke University and received a Fulbright Scholarship in 2011.  He is also the 2014 recipient of the Velji Leadership Award for Emerging Leaders in Global Health, given by the Consortium of Universities for Global Health. 

Thomas Helgerman

Thomas Helgerman is a PhD candidate in economics at the University of Michigan with interests in applied microeconomics. As an undergraduate, he conducted research exploring the link between capital inflows and asset price booms. However, Thomas intends to move his focus during graduate study from international economics to labor economics. In particular, he has interests in several topics spanning the economics of education and the economics of gender and the family. Prior to beginning graduate studies at the University of Michigan, Thomas received a B.S. in Mathematics and Economics as well as a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh.