Selected Publications

We have systematically explored the patterns, trends, and main characteristics of China’s ecommerce by relying on data on JingDong’s online sales. One of the most interesting findings is that China’s online consumer spending is positively correlated with regional income. In addition, people’s online consumer spending behavior exhibits regional heterogeneity and age cohort heterogeneity. People in the east region exhibit the strongest online consumer spending capacity. Finally, the most popular products sold online at JD are cell phones, followed by food and beverages, makeup and cosmetics, digital products, and lifestyle and travel goods.
Mandel and Haughwout - Handbook of U.S. Consumer Economics, 2018

This paper explores the nature of factional competition under authoritarian regime using novel data from China. Employing news reports in Chinese national and local newspapers from 2000 to 2014, coupled with elite network data, we provide empirical evidence that national leader’s political power affects connected public official’s competitive behavior against one another. We find that provincial leaders connected to powerful national leaders are more likely to promote negative news about officials linked to weaker national leaders. These negative reports indeed harm the promotion prospects of reported-on province leaders, weakening the already weak factions. Our analyses show that factional competition in China has a tendency of power dominance, rather than power balancing or sharing, suggesting that informal competition among factions does not lead to stable power-sharing outcomes.
Working Paper, 2017

How does the media help hold politicians accountable in countries with competitive elections has been well studied. However, whether and how media could discipline non- elected officials remain unclear. In this paper, I examine the effect of negative news coverage on political selection in China. To be specific, I evaluate how news reports on fatal coal mine accidents influence prefectural party secretaries’ likelihood of promotion. I find media coverage, rather than the coal mine accident itself, decreases the possibility of politicians’ promotion. This effect is more substantial when the media is non-local. Our results suggest that even with serious media control, there is publicity-induced accountability in China. The accountability-enhancing effect of media is driven by informing the public rather than informing the principle. I also propose that the M-form hierarchy of bureaucracy and economic decentralization create considerable discretion for media, which although limited, can hold politicians accountable.
Working Paper, 2017



The R Package of Panel Data Approach for Program Evaluation.

Invited & Upcoming Talks

2019 Asian Meeting of the Econometric Society
The Data Analytics Boot Camp
The 2nd China Public Finance Forum
Annual Conference of Chinese Association of Quantitative Economics
16th ZEW Summer Workshop for Young Economists


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