Hongbin Li obtained a PhD in economics from Stanford University in 2001 and joined the economics department of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he became a full professor in 2007. He was also one of the two founding directors of the Institute of Economics and Finance at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He taught at Tsinghua University in Beijing from 2007 to 2016 and was C.V. Starr Chair Professor of Economics in the School of Economics and Management. He also founded and served as the executive associate director of the China Data Center.
Li’s research has been focused on China and is concerned with two general themes: i) the behaviors of governments, firms and banks in the context of economic transition; and ii) human capital and labor markets in the context of economic development. Research results have been published in journals such as PNAS, Journal of Political Economy, American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Economic Journal, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Comparative Economics, Journal of International Economics, and Demography¸ among others. His research has been widely covered by media around the world and well read by top policy makers in China.
He is the current editor of the Journal of Comparative Economics (2017), an associate editor of Economic Development and Cultural Change, and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Comparative Economics and China Economic Review, as well as on the editorial advisory board for the Journal of Economic Perspectives and China Agricultural Economic Review. He received the Changjiang Scholarship in 2009, the National Award for Distinguished Young Scientists in China in 2010, and the McKinsey Young Economist Research Paper Award in 2012. He is a Research Fellow at IZA and a senior research fellow at the J. Mirrlees Institute of Economic Policy Research.
1993 Bachelor of Economics (Finance), China Agricultural University
2001 Ph.D. in Economics, Stanford University, USA
2001-2006 Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
2006-2007 Associate Professor (Tenure), Department of Economics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
2007 Professor, Department of Economics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
2006-2007 Deputy Director of Economic and Financial Center, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
2007－2016 Professor and Doctoral Tutor of Economics, School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University
2010 “Yangtze River Scholar” Distinguished Professor
2010－2016 C.V. Starr Chair Professor
2009－2016 Executive Deputy Director, China Economic and Social Data Center, Tsinghua University
2006 - Member of Academic Committee of “World Economic Papers”
2007 - Senior Research Fellow in Institute of Economic Policy, Peking University
2007 - Member of Steering Committee of “China Agricultural Economic Review”
2008 - Research Fellow of IZA (in Germany)
2009 - Member of Editorial Board of “Journal of Comparative Economics”
2010 - In charge of the large-scale data project “China University Survey”
2011 - Member of Editorial Board of “China Economic Review”
2012 - Member of Editorial Board of “Frontiers of Economics in China”
2009-2010 Council Member of Chinese Economist Society
2011 - Expert of Department of Management Sciences, National Natural Science Foundation
2012 - Vice President of China Quantitative Economics Association (Executive Director, since 2009)
2014 - Advisory Member of “Journal of Economic Perspectives”
2013 - Chief Researcher of “Chinese Social Science”
2013 - In charge of the large-scale data survey “China Employer-Employee Survey
2015 - Visiting Professor, Institute for International Development, Stanford University
• McKinsey China Young Economist Award, 2011
• National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars by National Science Foundation, 2010
• Distinguished Professor of “Yangtze River Scholars” by Ministry of Education, 2010
• Jackstadt Best Papers Award in “China Economic Quarterly”, 2010
• The Third Prize of Excellent Papers in “Journal of Financial Research”, 2009
• The First Prize of Annual Conference of China Quantitative Economics Association, May 2008
• The Second Prize of Excellent Teaching by School of Economics and Management, 2008 & 2009
• Advanced Research Award in School of Economics and Management, 2009 & 2010
• Advanced Worker in School of Economics and Management, 2008 & 2010
• Advanced Worker in Tsinghua University, 2010
• The First Prize (sole) in the International Essay Competition of World Economic Development Institute of the United Nations, April 2005
• Papers Scholarship by John M. Olin Foundation in Stanford University, 1999
• Graduate Scholarship of Stanford University, 1995-2001
Funding and Awards
Data Center Program of Tsinghua University, 2009-Present
National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars by National Science Foundation, 2010 (2011/1-2014/12)
Funding Project by National Science Foundation, “Study on Feasibility of Construction of Basic Economic Management Data by National Science Fund Sponsorship” (Participant), 2009
“Economic and Social Database Construction in Sichuan Province” (Director), Sub-project underlying “Research on Social Development and Planning in Sichuan Province”, 2009/1-2010/10
“Social and Economic Database Construction Survey in Chinese Universities” (Director), Project by Tsinghua Nomura Research Center, 2009/1-2009/12
“Experiment Design of Micro-credit Repayment Period” (Director), Sub-project of “Research on Rural Financial Development in China” by HSBC Bank, 2008/1-2009/1
Hong Kong RGC CERG Fund CUHK4267/03H (Director), “China’s Family Firms,” 2003/7-2007/1
Hong Kong RGC CERG Fund CUHK4663/06H (Director), “One Child Policy, Fertility, and Testing Economic Hypotheses on Marriage and Child Quality,” 2006/7-2008/6
Funding Project by Japan International Research Center for Development of East Asia (Director), “An Economic Analysis of China’s One-Child Policy,” 2005/4-2006/3
Funding Project by U.S. Ford Foundation (Participant), “Privatization of China’s State Owned Enterprises,” 2002/1-2003/12
Project by National Natural Science Foundation Committee, NSF70233003 (Participant), “Research on Human Resource Capital Investment and Labor Market Policies in China,” 2002-2006
Project by Economic and Financial Center, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1901406 (Director), “Economic Interest Group,” 006/7-2007/7
Hong Kong RGC CERG Fund—The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Direct Grant 2020656 (Director), “Privatization of China’s State Owned Enterprises，”2001/11-2004/12。
Hong Kong RGC CERG Fund—The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Direct Grant 2020682 (Director), “Are Private Firms Discriminated by China’s Commercial Banks?” 2002/4-2004/9
Summer Oversea Research by The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Director), “Fiscal Decentralization and Privatization,” 2002/7
Summer Oversea Research by The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Director), “Incentives and Performance of China’s Banks,” 2003/6
Hong Kong RGC CERG Fund—The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Direct Grant 2020709 (Director), “China’s Family Firms,” 2002/12-2004/12
Hong Kong RGC CERG Fund—The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Direct Grant 2020830 (Director), “Firm Survival in Economic Transition: Evidence from China,” 2005/3-2006/12
Hong Kong RGC CERG Fund—The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Direct Grant 2020841 (Director), “Testing the External Effect of Fertility,” 2005/12-2007/6
Hong Kong RGC CERG Fund 4006/PPR2 (Participant), “An Economic Analysis of Gender Earnings Gap in Hong Kong, 1981-2006,” 2006/5-2008/4
Hong Kong RGC CERG Fund CUHK4667/06H (Participant), “An Economic Model of Fertility Behavior under Fines: Theory and Evidence from Rural China,” 2006/7-2008/6
Research results have been widely reproduced by thousands of well-known media both at home and abroad, such as People’s Daily, Guangming Daily, Xinhua, CCTV, Sina, Tecent, Sohu, BBC, CNN, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, New York Times.
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1. “Human Capital and China's Future Growth”, (with Prashant Loyalka, Scott Rozelle and Binzhen Wu), Journal of Economic Perspectives, 31(1), 2017, pp. 25-48.
2. “The Retirement Consumption Puzzle Revisited: Evidence from the Mandatory Retirement Policy in China” (with Xinzheng Shi and Binzhen Wu), Journal of Comparative Economics forthcoming, 2015.
3. “How Do Exchange Rate Moments Affect Chinese Exports: A Firm Level Investigation,” (with Hong Ma and Yuan Xu), Journal of International Economics forthcoming, 2015.
4. “The Retirement Consumption Puzzle in China” (with Xinzheng Shi and Binzhen Wu), American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, 105(5), 2015, pp. 437-441.
5. “Sex Ratios and Crime: Evidence from China” (with Lena Edlund, Junjian Yi and Junsen Zhang), Review of Economics and Statistics, 95(5), December 2013, pp. 1520-1534.
6. “Evidence on the Impact of Sustained Exposure to Air Pollution on Life Expectancy from China’s Huai River Policy” (with Yuyu Chen, Avraham Ebenstein and Michael Greenstone), Proceedings of National Academy of Science USA 110(32), August 2013, pp. 12936-12941.
---Over 2,000 medias covered the paper, including the WSJ, NYTimes, FT, CNN, BBC, SKY, Reuters, Bloomberg, IBTimes, Daily Mail, National Geography, Guardian, Agency France-Presse, Discover Magazine, the People’s Daily, Guangming Daily, China Daily, Beijing Daily, Xinhua News, CCTV, 21th Century Finance Caixin, Caijing, etc.
7. “Poverty in China’s Colleges and the Targeting of Financial Aid” (with Lingsheng Meng, Xinzheng Shi and Binzhen Wu), China Quarterly, October 2013, pp. 1-23.
8. “Family Ties and Organizational Design: Evidence from Chinese Private Firms” (with Hongbin Cai, Albert Park and Li-an Zhou), Review of Economics and Statistics 95(3), July 2013, pp. 850-867.
9. “Prenatal Sex Selection and Missing Girls in China: Evidence from the Diffusion of Diagnostic Ultrasound,” (with Yuyu Chen and Lingsheng Meng), Journal of Human Resources, 48(1), 2013.
10. “The End of Cheap Chinese Labor” (with Lei Li, Binzhen Wu and Yanyan Xiong), Journal of Economic Perspectives, 26(4), 2012, pp. 57-74.
11. “Does Having a Cadre Parent Pay? Evidence from the First Job Offers of Chinese College Graduates” (with Lingsheng Meng, Xinzheng Shi and Binzhen Wu), Journal of Development Economics, 99, 2012, pp. 513-520.
12. “Does Attending Elite Colleges Pay in China?” (with Lingsheng Meng, Xinzheng Shi and Binzhen Wu), Journal of Comparative Economics, 40, 2012, pp. 78-88.
13. “Entrepreneurship and Growth: Evidence from China” (with Xianguo Yao, Zheyu Yang, Haifeng Zhang and Junsen Zhang), China Economic Review, 23(4), December 2012, pp 948-961.
14. “Estimating the Returns to Education Using Twins in Urban China,” (with Pak Wai Liu and Junsen Zhang) Journal of Development Economics, 97(4), 2012, pp 494-504.
15. “Estimating the Effect of the One-Child Policy on Sex Ratio Imbalance in China: Identification Based on the Difference-in-Differences,” (with Junjian Yi and Junsen Zhang) Demography 48(4), November 2011, pp. 1535-1557..
16. “The Human Cost of China’s Growth,” (with Lingsheng Meng and Wenqing Pan), China Economic Review 22(3), September 2011, pp. 373-382.
17. Early Commitment on Financial Aid and College Decision Making of Poor Students: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation in Rural China (with Chengfang Liu et al.) Economics of Education Review 30(4), August 2011, pp. 627-640.
18. “Income Inequality, Status Seeking and Savings,” (with Ye Jin and Binzhen Wu), Journal of Comparative Economics 39(2), June 2011, pp. 191-204.
19. “Community Service, Educational Performance and Social Responsibility in Northwest China,” (with Renfu Luo et al.) Journal of Moral Education 40(2), June 2011, pp. 181-202.
20. “Gender Earnings Gaps in Hong Kong: Empirical Evidence from across the Earnings Distribution in 2006” (with Yuhao Ge and Junsen Zhang) China Economic Review 22(1), March 2011, pp. 151-164.
21. “Incentives, Equality and Contract Renegotiations: Theory and Evidence in the Chinese Banking Industry,” Journal of Industrial Economics, 58(1), March 2010, pp156-189 (with Hongbin Cai and Li-an Zhou).
22. “Why Does Spousal Education Matter for Earnings? Assotative Mating and Cross-Productivity,” Journal of Labor Economics, 27(4), October 2009, pp. 633-652 (with Chong Huang, Pak Wai Liu and Junsen Zhang).
23. “John Knight and Lina Song, Towards a Labour Market in China,” Economic Development and Cultural Change, 58(1), October 2009, pp 173-176.
24. “Testing The External Effect of Consumption: the Case of Child Demand,” Journal of Human Resource, 44(4), pp. 890-915, fall 2009 (with Junsen Zhang).
25. “Ultrasonic Scans and Sex Ratios in China,” Asian Economic Policy Review, 4(1), pp. 121-137, June 2009 (with Hui Zheng).
26. “Winter Heating or Clean Air? Unintended Impacts of China's Huai River Policy,” American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings, 99(2), pp 184-190, May 2009 (with Douglas Almond, Yuyu Chen and Michael Greenstone).
27. “Mother’s Education and Child Health: Is There a Nurturing Effect?” Journal of Health Economics, 28(2), pp 413-426, March 2009 (with Yuyu Chen).
28. “Political Connections, Financing and Firm Performance: Evidence from Chinese Private Entrepreneurs,” (with Lingsheng Meng, Qian Wang and Li-an Zhou) Journal of Development Economics 87, 2008, pp. 283-299.
29. “The Quantity-Quality Tradeoff of Children in a Developing Country: Identification Using Chinese Twins,” Demography, 45(1), February 2008, pp. 223-243 (with Junsen Zhang and Yi Zhu).
30. “Effects of Longevity and Dependency Rates on Saving and Growth: Evidence from a Panel of Cross Countries,” (with Jie Zhang and Junsen Zhang), Journal of Development Economics, 84(1), September 2007, pp. 138-154.
31. “Do High Birth Rates Hamper Economic Growth?” (with Junsen Zhang), Review of Economics and Statistics 89(1), February 2007, pp. 110-117.
32. “Incentive Effects under Contract Renegotiation: Evidence from the Chinese Banking Industry,” (with Scott Rozelle and Li-an Zhou), Economics of Transition 15(1), March 2007, pp. 109-124.
33. “Testing the Collective Model of Household Labor Supply: Evidence from China,” (with Tak Wai Chau, Pak Wai Liu and Junsen Zhang), China Economic Review 18, 2007, 389-402.
34. “Income, Income Inequality and Health: Evidence from China,” (with Yi Zhu), Journal of Comparative Economics 34(4), December 2006, pp. 654-667.
35. “Relative Earnings of Husbands and Wives in Urban China,” (with Lai Ting Sin and Junsen Zhang), China Economic Review 17(4), Winter 2006, pp. 412-431.
36. “Why Do Entrepreneurs Enter Politics,” (with Lingsheng Meng and Junsen Zhang), Economic Inquiry 44(3), July 2006, pp 559-578.
37. “Political Turnover and Economic Performance: The Disciplinary Role of Personnel Control in China,” (with Li-An Zhou), Journal of Public Economics 89(9-10), September 2005, pp. 1743-1762. (Ranked No. 4 of the journal in citation since 2005)
38. “Banks and Enterprise Privatization in China.” (with Loren Brandt and Joanne Roberts), Journal of Law, Economics and Organization 21(2), October 2005, pp. 524-546.
39. “Relative performance evaluation and the turnover of provincial leaders in China.” (with Ye Chen and Li-an Zhou), Economics Letters 88(3), June 2005, pp. 421-425.
40. “Insider Privatization with a Tail: The Screening Contract and Performance of Privatized Firms in Rural China,” (with Scott Rozelle), Journal of Development Economics (lead article) 75(1), October 2004, pp 1-26.
41. “Government’s Budget Constraint, Competition and Privatization: Evidence from China’s Rural Industry,” Journal of Comparative Economics 31(3), September 2003, pp. 486-502.
42. “Bank Discrimination in Transition Economies: Ideology, Information or Incentives?” (with Loren Brandt), Journal of Comparative Economics (lead article) 31(3), September 2003, pp. 387-413.
43. “Privatizing Rural China: Insider Privatization, Innovative Contracts, and the Performance of Township Enterprises” (with Scott Rozelle), China Quarterly 174, December 2003, pp. 981-1005.
44. “Reversing Privatization as a Screening Mechanism,” Economics Letters 78, February 2003, pp. 267-271.
1. “Research on Consumer Behaviors of Chinese Residents before and after their Retirement” (with Shi Xinzheng and Wu Binzhen), China Economic Quarterly, October 2014.
2. “Wage Premium of State-owned Enterprises and its Causes” (with Wang Rui, Shi Xinzheng), China Journal of Economics, September 2014.
3. “Medical Insurance and Consumption: Evidence from the New Rural Cooperative Medical System” (with Bai Enen and and Wu Binzhen), Economic Research Journal, 2012(2).
4. “How Parental Political Capital Affects College Students’ Performance in Labor Market” (with Shi Xinzheng, Meng Lingsheng and Wu Binzhen), China Economic Quarterly, 2012(3).
5. “The Policy Effect of College Students’ Sponsorship and Scholarships”(with Shi Xinzheng, Meng Lingsheng and Wu Binzhen), Journal of Financial Research, 2011(12).
6. “The Impact of RMB Exchange Rate on the Import and Export of Enterprises: An Empirical Study from Chinese Firms” (with Ma Hong, Xiong Yanyan and Xu Gu), Journal of Finance Research, 2011 (2).
7. “The Impact of Firm Size on Employees’ Salary: An Empirical Study from Competitive Labor Market in China”(with Chen Ling, Xiong Yanyan and Zhou Li’an), Journal of Financial Research, 2010 (2).
8. “The Impact of Entrepreneurship and Entrepreneurial Innovation Spirit on China’s Economic Growth” (with Li Xing, Yao Xianguo, Zhang Haifeng and Zhang Junsen), Economic Research Journal, 2009.
9. “Family Income, Consumption and Saving Behavior of Chinese Urban Households: An Empirical Study Based on Groups” (with Zhou Shaojie and Zhang Junsen), China Economic Quarterly, Vol. 8, No.4, 1197-1220, October 2009.
10. “Informal Finance and Farmers’ Credit Behavior” (with Jin Ye), Journal of Financial Research, 2009 (4), pp. 63-79.
11. “Effectiveness of China’s Family Planning Policy” (with Zhang Junsen and Zhu Yi), China Journal of Economics, May 2008, Vol. 3, pp. 83-112.
12. “Relative Performance Assessment: An Empirical Study on the Promotion Mechanism of Local Officials in China” (with Zhou Li’an and Chen Ye), China Journal of Economics, June 2005, vol. I, pp. 83-96.
13. “Discrimination in a Transitional Economy: Ideology, Information or Incentives” (with Loren Brandt), World Economic Papers, 2005 (2), 1-24.
Investment and Return of Human Capital in China (with Zhang Junsen), Peking University Press, 2008.