Economist, Amazon



I am an economist at PXT Central Science, committed to making Amazon the world's best employer.

I work on applying behavioral economics and data science to optimize human capital decisions from school to the workforce.

I was a postdoc with Susanna Loeb at Brown and with Adam Kapor, Chris Neilson, and Seth Zimmerman at Princeton.

I received my Ph.D. under the advising of Steve DesJardins, Sue Dynarski, and Brian Jacob from the University of Michigan.

Why do I want to improve human capital accumulation for the poor? One reason: "25 dangerous roads to school in the world."

Optimize human capital decisions from school to workforce

Working papers
  1. Migrant children's take-up of social health insurance: Experimental evidence from China, with Menghan Shen, Zhiwei Tang, revise & resubmit
  2. Impacts of academic mismatch on college and labor market outcomes, with Xin Li, Xiaogang Wu, revise & resubmit
  3. Impacts of village preschools, with Shuangye Chen et al., revise & resubmit
  4. Using text-messages to overcome parenting barriers in under-resourced communities: Evidence from a field experiment in rural China, with Yue Ma, Susanna Loeb et al., under review
  5. Experimental evidence on the effects of systematic phonics, with Xinjie Zhang, under review
  6. Do teachers' college prepare better teachers? with Qi Zheng et al., under review
  7. Improving access to high-quality teachers in underdeveloped areas: Evidence from Free Teacher Education in China, with Muxin Zhai, Li Feng, under review
  8. Information nudge in U.S. health education, with Muxin Zhai, Li Feng, under review
  9. College-major choice to college-then-major choice: The heterogeneous impacts of late specification reforms on college student composition, with Xin Li et al., EdWorkingPaper 22-695, under reivew [pdf]
  10. Personalized advising for college match: Experimental evidence on the use of human expertise and machine learning to improve college choice, 2022 [pdf]
  11. Cognitive distortions in complex decisions: Evidence from centralized college admission, with Ao Wang, Shaoda Wang, 2022 [pdf]
  12. Intergenerational mobility effects of regional education and migration policy in China, with Jonas Jin, Alan Yang, 2022 [pdf]
  13. The promise of online learning to improve human capital accumulation by reducing the opportunity cost of schooling, with Di Xu, 2022
  14. Inequality in college applications: Evidence from three continents, with Adam Altjmed, Andres Barrios Fernandez, Aspacia Bizopoulou, Martti Kaila, Christopher Neilson, and Sebastián Otero, 2022
  15. New college campus and local economic growth, with Dongyang Chen, Wei Ha, 2022
  16. Intrinsic and extrinsic incentives in medical education, with Hongbin Wu, Hang Yu et al., 2022
  17. The road not taken: Unequal pathways through high school mathematics coursetaking, with Susanna Loeb, 2022
  18. Impacts of meta major reforms, with Le Kang et al., 2022
  19. How college choices disadvantage disadvantaged students under centralized college admissions systems? with Prashant Loyalka, Binzhen Wu, 2020
  1. Improving college choice in centralized admissions: Experimental evidence on the importance of precise predictions, Education Finance and Policy, 2023 [link] [pdf]
  2. When information conflicts with obligations: The role of motivated cognition, with Ao Wang, Shaoda Wang, The Economic Journal (conditional acceptance), NBER Working Paper 30581, 2023 [pdf]
  3. College-major choice to college-then-major choice: Experimental evidence from Chinese college admissions reforms, with Liping Ma, Xin Li, Qiong Zhu, Economics of Education Review, EdWorkingPaper 22-694, 2023 [pdf]
  4. The effect of an information intervention on the career commitment of medical students: Evidence from a randomized experiment, with Chunqing Li, Chen Yu, Hongbin Wu, Frontiers in Medicine, 2023
  5. Still want to be a doctor? Medical student dropout in the era of COVID-19, with Muxin Zhai, Li Feng, A'na Xie, Weiming Wang, Hongbin Wu, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2022 [link] [pdf]
  6. More money on learning, less learning loss? The Learning Curve at Urban Institute (internally reviewed), 2022 [link] [pdf]
  7. Global pathways: New evidence on the international graduate school choice of Chinese outbound students, with Suhong Yang, Dean He, Higher Education, 2022 [link] [pdf]
  8. Prosocial modeling matters, Annals of Medicine (authorship not randomized), with Dan Wang, Hongbin Wu, 2022 [link] [pdf]
  9. Centralization vs. decentralization: The financing of public primary education in China, with Wei Ha, Dongyang Chen, Recent Advancements in Education Finance and Policy (eds. Thomas Downes, Kieran Killeen), 2022 [link] [pdf]
  10. Heterogeneous major preferences for extrinsic incentives: The effects of wage information on the gender gap in STEM major choice, with Yanqing Ding, Wei Li, Xin Li,Yinduo Wu, Jin Yang, Research in Higher Education, EdWorkingPaper 21-395, 2021 [link] [pdf]
  11. The elite exclusion: Stratified access and production during the Chinese higher education expansion, with Yanqing Ding, Yinduo Wu, Jin Yang, Higher Education, 2021 [link] [pdf]
  12. Expanding online education for future doctors on a national scale, with Li Li, Hongbin Wu, A'na Xie, Cheng Liu, Weiming Wang, BMC Medical Education (authorship not randomized), 2021 [link] [pdf]
  13. Traditional dietary habits and interprovincial migration in college choice, with Le Kang, Yanqing Ding, ECNU Review of Education, 2020 [link] [pdf]
  14. Intergovernmental transfer with heterogeneous accountabilities: The effects of the 2006 Chinese Education Finance Reform, with Yanqing Ding, Fengming Lu, Economics of Educaiton Review, 2020 [link] [pdf]
Publications in Chinese
  1. Students' academic performance of publicly-funded pre-service teacher programs, with Xinliang Zhang, Yan Shi, Qi Zheng, Na Wang, Journal of Educational Studies 教育学报, 2023. [pdf]
  2. Mismatch between college-majors and occupations, with Suhong Yang, Peking University Education Review 北京大学教育评论, 2022.
  3. Health insurance RCT with college students, with Menghan Shen, Xiangrui Zheng., Insurance Studies 保险研究, 2022. [pdf]
  4. Medical school advising, with Yuchen Yang et al., Chinese Journal of Medical Education 中华医学教育杂志, 2022.
  5. STEM major restrictions, with Shangcong Bu, Liping Ma, China Higher Education Research 中国高教研究, 2022. [pdf]
  6. COVID and medical student attrition, with Xuanxuan Ma et al., Fudan Education Forum 复旦教育论坛, 2021. [pdf]
  7. Impacts of academic mismatch on college success, with Qiongqiong Wang et al., China Economics of Education Review 教育经济评论, 2021. [pdf]
  8. College and economic development: Evidence from new college campuses, with Wei Ha, Dongyang Chen, Peking University Education Review 北京大学教育评论, 2021. [pdf]
  9. The impact of informational interventions on college-major choice: Evidence from a large-scale randomized experiment, with Lizhen Du et al., China Economic Quarterly 经济学季刊, 2021. [pdf]
  10. The impacts of college admissions reforms,'' with Liping Ma et al., China Higher Education Research 中国高教研究, 2021. [pdf]
  11. Retaking college entrance exam: Evidence from a regression discontinuity design, with Yan Zhang et al., Global Education 全球教育展望, 2019. [pdf]
  12. Who benefits from college expansion in China? Part 2, with Yanqing Ding, Yinduo Wu, Jin Yang, Journal of National Academy of Education Administration 国家教育行政学院学报, 2019. [pdf]
  13. Who benefits from college expansion in China? Part 1, with Yanqing Ding, Yinduo Wu, Jin Yang, Research in Education Development 教育发展研究, 2019. [pdf]
  14. Undermatched college choice among low-income students, with Si Chen et al., China Economics of Education Review 教育经济评论, 2018. [pdf]
  15. Gaokao and education investment: Public high school performance pay under accountability, with Yinduo Wu, Jin Yang, Education & Economy 教育与经济, 2017. [pdf]
  16. Why have some local governments closed more rural schools than others?, with Yanqing Ding, Shaoda Wang, China Economics of Education Review 教育经济评论, 2016. lead article [pdf]
  17. Expanding Chinese higher education: Quality and social stratification, with Yanqing Ding, Chinese Journal of Sociology 社会, 2015. [pdf]
  18. The causal effects of high school choice, with Jinling Chen, Yanqing Ding, Education Research Monthly Review 教育学术月刊, 2014. [pdf]
  19. Local government incentives, fiscal constraint and education expenditure, in Lin et al. (eds) Tax Reform and Sustainable Development in China 中国税制改革与可持续发展, China Finance & Economics Press, 2013.
  20. Parental political capital and children’s school choice: Evidence from China, World Economics Papers 世界经济文汇, 2012. [pdf]
  21. Village schools: A symbol of the nation or deformation of the city?, RUC Education Journal 中国人民大学教育学刊, 2011. [pdf]

RCT for Social Good Series

> Season 1: 2022 - "Behavioral Economics in Early Childhood Education"
  • hosted by Center for Education Policy of SWU

Causal Inference Checklist Series

> Season 1: 2022 - "Causal Inference Checklist"
  • hosted by Education Economics Lab of ECNU

Improving College Choice for All Series

> 2022 - Gaokao Checklist
  • The seeds of life's confusion were planted before the College Entrance Exam - Apple Podcast by ETW Studio [link]
  • After 7 years of college advising, he said "it's hard to change students' behaviors" - Southern Weekend [link]
  • How does college application change a student's life? - People Magazine [link]

"The flowers bloom."

(Shangde School, Wen County, Gansu Province, 2009)

RCT For Social Good (糅春天) Blogs

Blog Subscriptions
  • WeChat account: RCT4BETTER
    • Most blogs will be written in Chinese but translations by Amazon AI will be attached.
    • Version 1 of the RCT for Social Good Blog at WeChat (RCT4GOOD) has been banned forever since 10/14/2022.
Poetry Collections
  • 2021 Julio Hu 纪念胡续冬
  • 2023 New Year Poetry Reading [pdf]

Six Years in My Life

Three books, five mentors, and 1,000,000 poor students guided my Ph.D. studies on #CollegeChoice, #BehavioralInsights, #CollegeAccess, #EconomicsOfEducation, #StudentSuccess, #Poverty, #EducationOpportunity, #DecisionMaking, #Inequality.

2020 - Year 1 After Graduate School

2021 - Year 2 After Graduate School

2022 - Year 3 After Graduate School