​UNSW Business School researchers have been awarded nearly $820,000 for two major research projects – on the impact of laws to protect racial minorities, and retirement planning.

Dr Sarah Walker, a senior lecturer at UNSW Business School, has been awarded $399,350 over three years to develop and analyse a dataset on racial laws and violence.

Dr Walker will analyse the terrible spate of lynching in the aftermath of the US Civil War, after newly freed blacks gained significant freedoms.

"Several societies throughout history have enacted laws to prohibit the freedoms of racial minorities. With time, civil rights legislation has evolved to protect racial minorities, but what if these efforts had the opposite effect – of escalating racial violence?" Dr Walker said.

"I am honoured and excited to be given the opportunity to work on this important area of research. I hope that my findings illuminate the process of racial violence not only in America, but in other parts of the world, as well."

Dr Walker, whose research has explored the economic impacts of refugees, civil conflict, child labour and deforestation, is one of two UNSW Business School researchers to receive funding in the 2019 Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) scheme.

The other recipient is Dr Yang Shen, who will receive $420,039 to unpick retirement planning. His work will use actuarial mathematics, financial mathematics and other techniques to investigate the optimal retirement planning framework; and to help demystify the puzzles in retirement planning.

Dr Shen said: "The world population is ageing rapidly and dramatically, and longevity risk has become a pressing challenge to pension systems in Australia and many other countries. My DECRA project will provide current and future retirees with applicable guidance on effective retirement planning and help Australians age well and age productively."

Media enquiries: Julia Jones - email j.jones@unsw.edu.au or (m) 0431 194 656