Saw Htay Wah received his Ph.D. in policy analysis from the Pardee RAND Graduate School in 2015. His research is in applied microeconomics topics, focusing on policy issues that concern labor, development, and health. His research mostly relies on primary data collection and field experiments to address hard-to-answer policy questions, and has a strong underlying focus on causal identification and policy implications.
Wah recently conducted the first labor market audit study in a developing country setting by examining whether employers in Myanmar prefer workers who accumulated skills in overseas labor markets, relative to equivalent workers who accumulate the same skills in local labor markets, to explore demand for return migrants as means of reducing Myanmar's chronic skills gap. In another labor market audit study in Myanmar, Wah examined whether employers in the private sector discriminate against ethnic minorities. He was principal investigator for a study funded by the British development agency (DFID) to collect a random sample of 1,000 small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the city of Yangon, Myanmar in 2014 and analyze the critical barriers to SME growth. He is also part of an international research team collaborating on an ongoing study that collects information on physical activity using accelerometers among the Dutch, American, and British populations to conduct an international comparison across the three countries.
At RAND, Wah has contributed to several projects including a study that evaluated the effectiveness of an overhaul of the healthcare delivery system in the Cincinnati metropolitan area.