Xi Chen, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Public Health (Health Policy), of Global Health, of Economics, and of Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Yale University. He is a faculty fellow at the Yale Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS), the Yale Climate Change and Health Initiative, the Yale Macmillan Center for International and Area Studies, the Yale Institute for Network Science (YINS), and a faculty advisor of the Yale-China Association. His areas of interest involve Health, Labor, Development Economics, and Applied Econometrics and Quantitative Methods. Specifically, his research focuses on the following areas: 1) fetal and early childhood development; 2) population aging and public policies; 3) climate change and health; 4) social network interactions; and 5) quality of life.

Recently, Chen has been working on six main projects: First, Chen collaborates with researchers from Peking University to better understand the long lasting impact of air pollution on happiness, mental health, cognitive functioning, productivity, and the economy; Second, Chen leads two National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants to investigate how social pensions promote health and healthy aging; Third, Chen works with Yale PEPPER Center and Yale Program on Aging to link the two ends of life course to better understand how early childhood circumstances determine health disparities in old age; Fourth, Chen works with Zhejiang University to evaluate a major medical payment reform in China that affects 1 billion population; Fifth, Chen works with the Environmental Health Science Division at Yale on a novel transdisciplinary project, the CHALLENGE (China Longitudinal Environmental, Genetic, and Economic Cohort), that studies 30,000 children aged 0-6 years old who were recruited at conception; Sixth, Chen leads a longitudinal household survey in rural China with a unique social network data collection sponsored by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) to better understand social networks and health behaviors.

Chen is a research fellow at the IZA Institute of Labor Economics, President-Elect of the China Health Policy and Management Society (CHPAMS), a reviewer of the National Sciences Foundation (NSF), an associate editor of China Health Review, a reviewer of 30 peer-reviewed journals, and a visiting professor at Nanjing University. He has been consulting for United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) and United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD). He has been an affiliate of Cornell Population Center and Cornell Institute for the Social Sciences (both Poverty Project and Judgment Project).

Chen's work has been recognized through numerous awards, including the Best China Paper from the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) China Sessions (2011), the George Warren Award from Cornell University (2012), the Outstanding Ph.D. Dissertation Award from the AAEA (2013), the MacMillan Faculty Research Award at Yale University (2013), James Tobin Summer Research Award at Yale Economics Department (2014), an award from the National Institute of Health / National Institute on Aging (NIH/NIA) (2015), and the U.S. PEPPER Center Scholar Award (2016). His research has been covered in various popular media, such as The Macmillan Report, The Economist, The Washington Post, The Times of London, The New York Times, Time Magazine, and China Central Television.

Chen obtained a Ph.D. in Applied Economics from Cornell University in 2012. He joined IZA as a Research Fellow in August 2014.



IZA Discussion Paper No. 10860

China and some other Asian countries have experienced skewed sex ratios, triggering intense competition and pressure in the marriage market. Meanwhile, China has more smokers than any other country, with half of men smoke while few women smoke. Men are the major income earners in most Chinese families and thus...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 10731
forthcoming in: the Journal of the Economics of Ageing

China launched a new rural pension scheme (hereafter NRPS) for rural residents in 2009, now covering almost all counties with over 400 million people enrolled. This implementation of the largest social pension program in the world offers a unique setting for studying the economics of intergenerational relationships during development, given...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 10662

Participating in and presenting gifts at funerals, weddings, and other ceremonies held by friends and neighbors have been regarded as social norms in many parts of the world for thousands of years. However, due to the reciprocal nature of gift giving, it is more burdensome for the poor to take...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 10628

While there is a large body of literature on the negative health effects of air pollution, there is much less written about its effects on cognitive performance for the whole population. This paper studies the effects of contemporaneous and cumulative exposure to air pollution on cognitive performance based on a...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 10037

We estimate the impact of receiving pension benefits on mental well-being using China's New Rural Pension Scheme launched in 2010, the largest pension program in the world. More than four hundred million Chinese have enrolled in the program, and the program on average amounts to one fifth of pensioners' earned...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 10028
Ecological Economics, 2017, 137: 29–36, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2017.02.020

This paper estimates the monetary value of cutting PM2.5, a dominant source of air pollution in China. By matching hedonic happiness in a nationally representative survey with daily air quality data according to exact dates and locations of interviews in China, we are able to estimate the relationship between local...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 10016
Contemporary Economic Policy, 2016, 34(4): 646–659. doi:10.1111/coep.12161

This paper makes use of the most recent social pension reform in rural China to examine whether receipt of the pension payment equips adult children of pensioners to migrate. Employing a regression discontinuity (hereafter RD) design to a primary longitudinal survey, this paper overcomes challenges in the literature that households...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 9519
China: An International Journal (SSCI), 2016, 14(1): 151-170. Project MUSE, muse.jhu.edu/article/611560

Status concern and the feelings of relative deprivation affect individual behavior and well-being. Traditional norms and the alarming inequality in China have made relative deprivation more and more intense for the Chinese population. This paper reviews empirical literature on China that attempts to test the relative deprivation hypothesis. We review...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 9482
Review of Economics of the Household, 2017, 15(2), 455-476. DOI: 10.1007/s11150-015-9304-y

China launched a pension program for rural residents in 2009, now covering more than 300 million Chinese. This program offers a unique setting for studying the ageing population, given the rapidity of China's population ageing, traditions of filial piety and co-residence, decreasing number of children, and dearth of formal social...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 9312
forthcoming in: Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jeem.2017.04.001

Existing studies that evaluate the impact of pollution on human beings understate its negative effect on cognition, mental health, and happiness. This paper attempts to fill in the gap via investigating the impact of air quality on subjective well-being using China as an example. By matching a unique longitudinal dataset...