Leo Ma

PhD Job Market Candidate

My research interests are in Empirical Microeconomics with a focus on Labor Economics, Education Economics and Housing Economics.

My job market paper studies the labor market effects of student grants in Canada using a large set of linked administrative data.

I expect to graduate in 2022 and will be available for interviews during the 2021-2022 academic year.

Research Area: Labor Economics, Education Economics and Housing Economics


PhD Economics, UBC (Expected)
MA Economics, University of Toronto
BA Economics, UBC


President’s Academic Excellence Initiative PhD Award (2020-2021)
Faculty of Arts Graduate Award (2016-2019)


Using linked administrative data and a regression discontinuity research design, I find that the Canada Student Grant for those from Low-Income Families (CSG-LI) increased university students’ 8-year cumulative employment income by 4.8 to 9.4%. This pattern is not found for recipients of the Canada Student Grant from Middle-Income Families (CSG-MI). The grants do not affect students while they are in school — this consistent with fact that the grants replace interest-free loans. Rather, the difference in income is observable four years after enrolment once most students have entered the labor market. I find some evidence that the grants affect career choice: CSG-LI recipients are more likely to work in a high-paying industry. [GO TO PAPER]


This study assesses the phenomenon of decrease in resale prices of top-floor units of residential buildings, or “top- floor discounts.” Using 1.9 million resale transactions of apartment units from South Korea, we found that top-floor discounts range from 1.4 to 8.2 percent of the resale prices. High indoor temperature of top-floor units may explain this phenomenon because top-floor residents own/use cooling appliances, such as air conditioners or fans, more than the residents on other floors, and the magnitude of top-floor discounts increases in regions with higher air temperatures. [GO TO PAPER]

Vancouver School of Economics, UBC
• ECON 101: Principles of Microeconomics (2020)

Sauder School of Business, UBC
• COMM 394: Environment, Society, and Government (2021)

Columbia College
• ECON 101: Introductory Economics (2021)

Teaching Assistant
Vancouver School of Economics, UBC
• ECON 308: Intermediate Microeconomic Analysis (2017-2018)
• ECON 301: Intermediate Microeconomic Analysis I (2019)
• ECON 315: Intermediate Microeconomic Analysis I (2019)
• ECON 316: Intermediate Microeconomic Analysis II (2018, 2020)
• ECON 370: Benefit-Cost Analysis and the Economics of Project Evaluation (2018)

University of Toronto
• ECO 375:Applied Econometrics (2015)