Assistant Professor of Economics
Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB)
Applied theory, political economy, economic history, industrial organization
2026 Tower E2, Oriental Plaza, 1 East Chang An Ave, Beijing, China
Curriculum Vitae [PDF]
2. Warcraft: Legitimacy Building of Usurpers (with Shuo Chen) [PDF] [Link]
Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Vol. 184, 2021, pp. 409-431
Usurpers initiated 40.2% more wars than hereditary rulers for more aggressive legitimization, warfare data from Imperial China in two millennia showed.
1. Strategic Promotion, Reputation, and Responsiveness in Bureaucratic Hierarchies (with Feng Yang) [PDF] [Link]
Journal of Theoretical Politics, 2019, 31(3), pp. 286-307
How should a mid-tier official promote his subordinates to build up reputation when the big boss is watching you?
10. Noble No More: Keju, Institutional Commitment, and Political Purges (with Shuo Chen, and Zhichen Huang) [PDF]
When Keju recruited commoner-born elites in bureaucracy, it erased power checks from nobility, and cultivated an absolutist rule where no one was safe from extralegal purges.
9. The Emperor's Tael: Fiscal Centralization and Tax Revolts in Qing China, 1644-1912 (with Shuo Chen, and Yu Hao) [PDF]
When the central gov. failed to commit to proper compensations, local gov. extended their grabbing hands to society after well-intended fiscal centralization reform.
8. Influence Activities through Social Media: Evidence from Academia (with Shuo Chen, and Albert Roh) [PDF]
Tenure-track assistant professors click more "likes" under the dean’s social media posts than their tenured colleagues during performance evaluation periods.
7. Trade or Raid? The Tea-Horse Trades and the Sino-Nomadic Conflicts, 1368-1432 (with Shuo Chen, and Yantong Fang) [PDF]
When the state re-opened border trades under state-monopolized ministries, the famed “Tea-Horse Trades” substantially reduced regional Sino-nomadic conflicts.
6. Competence-Loyalty Tradeoff under Dominant Minority Rule: The Case of Centuries of Manchu Rule (with Shuo Chen, L. Colin Xu, and Xun Yan) [PDF]
Dominant minority, e.g., the Manchus in China, achieved effective governance through coupling competent Han elites for daily admin., with trusted Manchus for supervision.
5. Elite Persistence, Power Struggles and Coalition Dynamics [PDF]
Why do revolutions that aim to install social equality often quickly reproduce the same type of hierarchies that the revolutionaries sought to destroy?
4. The Shaping of A Gender Norm: Marriage, Labor, and Foot-binding in Historical China (with Lingwei Wu) [PDF]
UniCredit Foundation - Best Paper Award on Gender Economics 10th
The emergence, diffusion and decadence of a cultural tradition (foot-binding) in response to changes in upward social mobility (Keju).
3. Club-based Promotions: Evidence and Theory (with Shuo Chen and Zhitao Zhu) [PDF] Newest version!
Previous Title: The Promotion Club
How to recruit preferred agents without distorting average working incentives? The principal commits to include top-performers into a "promotion club", but only promote from within the club based on personal discretion.
2. Godfather Politicians and Organized Violence: The Good, The Bad, And The Bloody (with Shuo Chen and Xuanyi Wang) [PDF]
A corrupt politician may serve as Godfather to arbitrate local mafia disputes peacefully. When the politician is eradicated, the local power vacuum leads to surges of local violence.
1. Starving and Deceiving? How Disasters Reshape Politicians' Incentives to Lie (with Shuo Chen and Xuanyi Wang) [PDF]
The victims of lies are more reluctant to lie: childhood exposures to famines restrain local politician's incentives to manipulate local GDP numbers for political benefits.
Work in progress
5. Monitoring Dynamics in Fighting Corruption
An anti-corruption investigator may deliberately turn a blind eye to early corruption behavior then use the threat of confiscation to enforce future good actions.
4. Investment with News Arrival
When launching new products, the best firms sometimes "wait and see": allow others to test the market, and enter the market after the potential is proven.
3. The Clash of Legitimacy (and the Remaking of Organizational Order) (with Shuo Chen)
Why do we observe cycling purges in transitional period of organizations? The continued legitimacy fights between charismatic leader and bureaucracy is the key.
2. Peace and War and Peace: Social Order in Costly Struggles
How arming strategies shape war and peace in a non-monotonic way, and why David may out-invest Goliath in arms.
1. Law vs. Lynching: A History of Vigilantes (with Shuo Chen and Bo Yang)
Lynching sometimes collaborates with law enforcement to realize social "justice", but is always punished by law for social stability. We show how strong state capacity weakens lynching, and why sometimes a lynching state may exist.