Seen and heard this week


Seen and heard this week is a weekly column highlighting thought leadership from the NUS community


An NBC News report on 18 July highlighted the findings of a study by Visiting Associate Professor Andrew Francis-Tan from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and Associate Professor Hugo M Mialon from Emory University which found a correlation between the amount spent on an engagement ring and the longevity of a marriage. The researchers found that men who spent between $2,000 and $4,000 on an engagement ring had a higher rate of divorce than men who spent between $500 and $2,000. However, this also held true for those who spent less than $500 on an engagement ring. The authors gave the financial burden placed on a couple which causes strain in the marriage as a possible reason for the negative association between wedding expenses and marriage duration.

A TODAY report on 19 July on the findings of a study by Dr Mathew Mathews, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies, showed that there are a number of Singaporeans who do not interact with other races, close themselves off to global influences and are against interracial dating. Dr Mathews opined that the apathy of these “culturally closed off” Singaporeans would hinder cohesion in the country’s multiracial society in the long run.

Dr Timothy Wong, a lecturer at NUS Economics, shared his views on governments subsidising public transport in an opinion piece in The Straits Times on 20 July. Dr Wong said that the differences in optimal subsidy levels across cities stem from the cities’ characteristics, including congestion levels, commuters’ preferences for different transportation modes, and commuter valuation of travel time. He added that there is no hard and fast rule for Singapore to adopt and the government will need to determine optimal levels of subsidy by assessing the merits of each consideration in the Singapore context.

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