U.Va. Professors Receive Hong Kong Fellowships

Nov, 8, 2006 -- Darden professor and international economist Frank Warnock and Veronica Warnock, a housing economist and assistant professor in UVA's School of Architecture, will be Research Fellows at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority's (HKMA) Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research from Nov. 20 to Jan. 8. 

 The Professors Warnock were approached last year by an official from the HKMA (Hong Kong's central bank), who heard Frank present a paper on international bond markets at the University of California at Berkeley and spoke with Veronica about her research interests. In response to the invitation, they submitted a proposal that was accepted in July. Their fellowship will entail a comparative investigation of housing finance systems across different environments.  This entails studying a broad range of countries-primarily in the East Asian region-ranging from those with mature bond and mortgage markets to those in which much of the population is unbanked.
 Frank's primary job will be to study the significance of financial sector structure in mobilizing funds, and Veronica will focus on access to housing finance. Frank says they will look at questions such as how people in countries without a well-functioning bond market purchase homes or fund construction and renovations of their homes.

 "We'll look at environments that are similar politically, socially and economically," says Veronica. She adds that 'decent housing is a human right,' and their work could find 'best practices' and result in the development of new instruments to provide loans to people not typically served by the financial system. "While governments set the ground rules, we're looking for private sector solutions to these problems," she adds.

 This is the Warnocks' third joint research project and is part of a broader project under the umbrella of Markets in Human Hope. Frank and Veronica will collaborate over the coming years with Darden professor Saras Sarasvathy to conduct research on creating financial markets, or at least financial products, where there are currently none. Of their research agenda, Frank says, "it's social and practical, but must in the end find self-sustaining solutions."

 Before coming to Darden in 2004, Frank developed his expertise in international capital flows as a Senior Economist in the International Finance Division at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, DC. He is currently a Faculty Research Fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in Cambridge, a Research Associate at the Institute of International Integration Studies (IIIS) at Trinity College Dublin, and a consultant to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

 In 2005, Veronica joined the faculty of the School of Architecture to promote research in the areas of affordable housing and sustainable environments. She teaches 'Economics and the Built Environment' in the spring. At the core of her research is economic development and equity. Previously, Veronica was Senior Economist at Mortgage Bankers Association in Washington, DC and was Research Associate at Haver Analytics, Inc in New York City. She also taught economics at Colegio San Agustin in Manila. She serves on a number of civic committees in Crozet and Charlottesville.