2/2018

Marie Curie Fellows explore investor behaviour and gamification

Two Marie Curie Individual Fellows have recently joined TUT. Viet Hung Le’s research delves into the investment world while Mattia Thibault examines urban gamification.

Hung Le

 

Viet Hung Le has found it easy to settle into his new life in Finland.

 

Tracing investor behaviour

Postdoctoral Researcher Viet Hung Le’s first task is to identify ‘investor clicks’, meaning groups of investors who engage in similar trading activities or have a similar portfolio. Then he will move to investigate how the behaviour of these clicks steers the direction of the stock market.

“My research will shed light on the interconnected mechanisms underlying investor behaviour and stock market movements. An in-depth understanding of these mechanisms is important, as it may enable us to identify early signs of potential market manipulation and thereby prevent financial crises,” explains Hung.

Hung’s research cuts across multiple disciplines and is based on Euroclear Finland’s anonymised statistics that describe the trading activities of more 1.5 million Finnish households on Helsinki Stock Exchange between 1995 and 2006.

“I’m developing a methodology and software package that will be applicable for analysing any stock market, so the research goals are both theoretical and practical.”

Highly esteemed funding

The EU awards two-year funding for researchers through Marie Curie Individual Fellowships. The selected fellows may seek funding from their host university for a further 12 months.

 

Hung’s academic background is mainly in mathematics and molecular biology and partly in physics and computer science. His previous experience of working in finance has broadened his perspective on the activities of financial markets. With this in mind, it is perhaps surprising that Hung wrote his doctoral dissertation on proteins, which seems like a far cry from stocks and shares.

“The problems of dealing with and interpreting massive data sets are the same, regardless of whether the topic is complex biological networks or financial ones.”

Hung conducted his dissertation research in Rome. Having lived in Europe before, he found it easy to settle into his new life in Finland. Hung moved to Tampere with his family back in May and is now part of a research group headed by Professor Juho Kanniainen.

Imagine cities as playgrounds

Mattia Thibault

 

Mattia Thibault examines urban gamification.

 

Postdoctoral Researcher Mattia Thibault’s multidisciplinary research project looks into urban gamification, its potential forms and how it affects urban spaces and the behaviour of people.

“People living in major cities, such as London and Paris, are increasingly troubled by a deep sense of being disconnected from their living environment. I’m looking to find out whether playfulness and gamification could help them reclaim their urban space and build community spirit,” Thibault says.

He points out that people are already using cities as urban playgrounds; they play Pokémon Go, host flash mobs and do parkour. What else do they do – this is what Thibault intends to find out.

”I’m exploring the similarities between different ways of using cities as spaces for play to determine what works and what doesn’t. The key is to figure out what people want and how they think. These insights will allow us to encourage bottom-up game-based activities that can bring people closer to each other and their environment and maybe even prevent crime.”

Thibault refers to the ‘broken windows’ theory claiming that signs of disorder in an urban environment, such as litter, graffiti and broken windows, create fear and encourage antisocial behaviour.

”What if we saw people playing and having fun on the streets? Would it reduce vandalism and crime?”

French-Italian Thibault has earned three degrees in different fields, namely a bachelor’s degree in comparative literature, a master’s degree in comparative modern cultures and a PhD in semiotics and media from the University of Turin. Since starting to work on his dissertation, Thibault has been putting together his CV from the perspective of a Marie Curie project, which proved to be an excellent strategy.

”All researchers should have an exact plan for their career – and a couple of back-up plans. I received support for preparing my grant proposal both from my home university and from my prospective supervisor here at TUT: Professor Juho Hamari. I spent the entire summer writing my proposal, but it paid off!”

Text: Kati Vastamäki
Photos: Mika Kanerva

 
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