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Researching the Researchers:
Shabana Noureen

Getting to know the doctoral candidates of the Geneva School of Economics and Management. Today, Ph.D. student Shabana Noureen, who has spent the last 6 months in Switzerland at the Institute of Economics and Econometrics, tells us more about her research.

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Full name and Nationality?
Shabana Noureen, Pakistani.

Academic background?

I have studied economics since college, and I obtained a Master’s degree in Economics from the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST) in Pakistan.

Program and Specialization?
I am in the final stage of a Ph.D. in Economics at NUST, and have participated in the GSEM's Ph.D. program as a visiting student. My dissertation is in the field of international economics under the supervision of Prof. Frédéric Robert-Nicoud. My thesis is “Essays on Trade Costs in Pakistan”, which comprises three essays that fall within the realm of trade costs in Pakistan.

Why did you choose to study for your Ph.D. at the GSEM?

In the village that I come from, girl’s education was prohibited, but my father supported me in the fight to change this. I wanted to study abroad, and I received the opportunity to participate in a 6-month exchange program sponsored by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan. At the GSEM, I enjoy the positive personal connection between supervisor and student, and the opportunities to connect with other Ph.D. candidates to discuss their doctoral projects and issues relevant to their academic life. This exchange of knowledge improves my research.

What is your Ph.D. about, and why did you choose your research topic?
My Ph.D. is about the costs of trade. My research examines the consequences of trade costs especially in the form of logistics, infrastructure, and transport costs, the consequences of non-tariff and tariff barriers on national and international trade, and the effect on consumers, businesses, and traders. An analysis of the proportion of trade costs in developing countries will help to understand how the reduction in these costs would assist them with the reformation needed to improve the benefits of local and international trade.

What is innovative about your research?
The current trading strategy encompasses “behind the border” problems such as the functioning of good governance, public administration, and infrastructures in supporting an efficient trading economy. The question is how do the non-monetary determinants of trade at an international level impact the capability of developing countries to participate in the worldwide market? The findings of this research will have policy implications for developing countries that are keen on increasing exports and reducing the volume of imports from abroad. Empirical findings of this research are expected to support the improvement and competitiveness of developing countries in international markets.

What is one thing that you have enjoyed the most during your Ph.D.? What is, or has been, the most challenging part?
Apart from my research, I enjoyed guiding other Master students, and reviewing the research articles and working papers of students and colleagues. I benefited from my work on an educational project for which I conducted surveys and interviews, and from giving lectures as a visiting faculty to Bachelor and Master classes. The most challenging part is time management.

Do you have any advice for someone considering a Ph.D.?
I would advise candidates to get to know their supervisor before deciding on a Ph.D. To be patient and dedicated, and to choose a topic that they are passionate about and skilled in.

Tell us something fun about yourself.
I enjoy visiting beautiful places in Geneva.

September 30, 2021
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