Prof. Donald How Tian LOW

Master in International Public Policy, The Johns Hopkins University, 2006

Professor of Practice in Public Policy
Program Director, Master of Public Management

Senior Lecturer
Division of Public Policy
Institute for Public Policy

Director of HKUST Institute for Emerging Market Studies
Director of HKUST Leadership and Public Policy Executive Education

Research Interest

Poverty and inequality
Big data and social science research
Development economics
Political economy of development
Population and policy issues in Asia


Donald is currently Senior Lecturer and Professor of Practice at the Institute of Public Policy of the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology as well as the Director of Leadership and Public Policy Executive Education. He is an accomplished consultant and lecturer in economics and behavioural economics, decision-making and risk analysis, inequality and social policy, complexity in public policy, organisational behaviour, and the politics and governance of Singapore.

Donald has served in, or consulted with, public, private, higher education and non-profit organisations. Prior to his current appointment, Donald was the Associate Dean for Executive Education and Research at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. Besides leading the School’s executive education department, he also headed its case study unit. Donald also served nearly 15 years in the Singapore government as a member of the Administrative Service. During that time, he established the Centre for Public Economics at the Civil Service College to advance economics literacy in the Singapore public service. He also held senior positions at the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service Division.

Donald is the editor of Behavioural Economics and Policy Design: Examples from Singapore (2011), a pioneering book which details how the Singapore government has applied ideas from behavioural economics in a number of policy domains. His best-selling 2014 book, Hard Choices: Challenging the Singapore Consensus, raises searching questions about the long-term viability of many aspects of governance in Singapore. He argues that a far-reaching rethinking of the country’s policies and institutions is needed in light of new socioeconomic, demographic and political realities. Such rethinking is necessary even if weakens the very consensus that enabled Singapore to succeed in its first 50 years.

Donald holds a double first in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University, and a Master in International Public Policy from The Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.

Recent Articles

The coronavirus crisis has shown us the global economic system is no longer fit for purpose, SCMP 3 Apr 2020

Covid-19 and climate change have more in common than you think, with Xun WU, TODAY 12 Mar 2020

Coronavirus: Is aggressive containment the most appropriate policy response, with Xun WU, SCMP 9 Mar 2020

Why we might have to accept that this new coronavirus is here to stay, SCMP 11 Feb 2020

China beware, the road to an open financial system is paved with Asian casualties, with YANG Xu, SCMP 23 Dec 2019

The Hong Kong protests are a political crisis—and a huge opportunity for the government, SCMP 31 Aug 2019

Could psychology have helped Carrie Lam avoid extradition bill fiasco?, SCMP 7 July 2019

Why Hong Kong cannot copy Singapore’s approach to public housing, with Lee Hsin, SCMP 5 May 2019

Why Hong Kong and Singapore should tax wealth more, SCMP 11 Mar 2019

The danger of Economics 101 in public discourse, with Benjamin Goh, Straits Times 20 Feb 2019

Why Hong Kong should accept e-cigarettes if it wants a smoke-free future, SCMP 19 Feb 2019