Nancy Qian
Nancy Qian

Professor of Managerial Economics & Decision Sciences

Print Overview

Nancy Qian is a professor of MEDS. She is a native of Shanghai, China, and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT. Prior to Kellogg, Professor Qian taught at Yale University and Brown University, and was a visiting scholar at the department of economics at Harvard University while she was post-doctoral fellow of the prestigious Harvard Academy Scholars program.  

Her research provides empirical evidence for a set of core questions in development economics that broadly fall into three sub-categories: demography and development, geography and development and institutions and development. Her works in the first category include studies of the economic determinants of missing women, the effects of changes in family size on child educational attainment, the long-run effects of famine on health and labor supply, the historical effect of the Columbian Exchange on population growth and urbanization, and the extent to which human capital differences can explain cross-country income differences. Her work in the second category includes studies that explore the long-run effects of climate change on conflict and the long-run influence of agricultural productivity on economic growth and conflict. Her work in the third category includes a study of the institutional causes of China's Great Famine, the determinants and consequences of elections in autocratic regimes, the determinants and consequences of humanitarian aid, understanding the government's influence on the media, and the rapid economic development in China.  

Professor Qian's work includes extensive analysis of survey data, as well as historical data and a recurring theme in in her research is to understand the difference between short and long run effects, and endogenous responses to economic incentives. She is an expert of the Chinese economy. Her research has been published in top academic journals and featured in media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio. She is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, such as the Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, the Kiel Global Excellence Award and National Science Foundation grants. She serves in several editorial positions and has consulted for development agencies such as The World Bank, the Global Development Network and the China Development Bank.

In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, art, reading, TV, sports and cooking for her family and friends. She's a fan of the Red Sox, Patriots and Roger Federer

Print Vita
Doctor of Philosophy, 2005, Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Bachelor of Arts, 2001, Economics, Government, Japanese and Mathematics, University of Texas at Austin, High Honors

Academic Positions
Associate Professor, Economics, Yale University, 2013-present
Visiting Scholar, Economics, Stern School of Business, New York University, 2016-present
Visiting Scholar, Economics, Booth Business School, University of Chicago, 2015-present
Visiting Scholar, Economics, Stern School of Business, New York University, 2014-present
Affiliate, Council on East Asian Studies, Yale University, 2014-present
Affiliate, Leitner Center for Political Economy, Yale University, 2014-present
Assistant Professor, Economics, Yale University, 2009-2013
Visiting Scholar, Industrial Relations Section, Princeton University, 2011-2012
Visiting Scholar, Booth Business School, University of Chicago, 2009-present
Visiting Scholar, Economics, Harvard University, 2007-2009
Harvard Academy Scholar, Harvard University, 2007-2009
Assistant Professor, Economics, Brown University, 2005-2005
Affiliate, Populations Studies and Training Center, Brown University, 2005-2009

Honors and Awards
One Thousand Talents Plan, City of Shanghai, 3 years
Keynote: “Tracking International Aid and Investment from Developing and Emerging Economies”, Heidelberg University

Editorial Positions
Associate Editor, Economica, 2015
Associate Editor, The Journal of European Economics, 2013
Associate Editor, The Journal of Development Economics, 2010
Editorial Board, Review of International Organizations, 2017
Editorial Board, American Economic Journal – Applied, 2017
Editorial Board, VOX China, 2017

Print Research
Research Interests

Development Economics, Political Economy, Historical Development

Qian, Nancy and David Yanagizawa-Drott. Forthcoming. Government Distortion in Independently Owned Media: Evidence from U.S. Cold War News Coverage of Human Rights. Journal of European Economics.
Meng, Xin, Nancy Qian and Pierre Yared. 2015. The Institutional Causes of Famine in China, 1959-61. The Review of Economic Studies. 82(4): 1568-1611.
Qian, Nancy. 2015. Making Progress on Foreign Aid. The Annual Review of Economics. 7: 277-308.
Nunn, Nathan and Nancy Qian. 2014. U.S. Food Aid and Civil Conflict.(104(6)): 1630-1666.
Liu, Jin-Tan and Nancy Qian. 2014. More Missing Women, Fewer Dying Girls: The Impact of Abortion on Sex Ratios at Birth and Excess Female Mortality in Taiwan. The Journal of European Economic Association.(12(4)): 899-926.
Nunn, Nathan and Nancy Qian. 2011. The Impact of Potatoes on Old World Population and Urbanization. The Quarterly Journal of Economics.(126(2))
Nunn, Nathan and Nancy Qian. 2010. The Columbian Exchange: a Historical Change in Food, Disease and Ideas. The Journal of Economic Perspectives.(24(2)): 163-188.
Qian, Nancy and David Yanagizawa-Drott. 2009. The Strategic Determinants of U.S. Human Rights Reporting: Evidence from the Cold War. The Journal of European Economic Association Papers and Proceedings.(7(2-3)): 446-457.
Piketty, Thomas and Nancy Qian. 2009. Income Inequality and Progressive Income Taxation in China and India, 1986-2010. The American Economic Journal – Applied Economics.(1(2)): 53-63.
Qian, Nancy. 2008. Missing Women and the Price of Tea in China: The Effect of Sex-Specific Income on Sex Imbalance. The Quarterly Journal of Economics.(123(3)): 1251-1285.
Qian, Nancy, Todd Schoelman and Benjamin Moll. 2016. Life Cycle Wage Growth Across Countries. Journal of Political Economy.
Porzio, Tommaso, Nancy Qian, Todd Schoelman and Moll Benjamin. 2017. Lifecycle Human Capital Accumulation Across Countries: Evidence from U.S. Immigrants. Journal of Human Resources.
Working Papers
Qian, Nancy, Jaya Wen and Liu Yu. 2018. The Dynamic Effects of Computerized VAT Invoices on Chinese Manufacturing Firms.
Qian, Nancy, Gerard Padró-i-Miquel, Monica Martinez Bravo and Yang Yao. 2018. The Rise and Fall of Local Elections in China: Theory and Empirical Evidence on the Autocrat's Trade-off.
Qian, Nancy, Nathan Nunn and Jaya Wen. 2018. Distrust and Political Turnover.
Nunn, Nathan, Nancy Qian and Sandra Sequeira. 2017. Migrants and the Making of America.
Martinez Bravo, Monica, Gerard Padro i Miguel, Nancy Qian and Yang Yao. 2012. Political Reform in China: Elections, Public Goods and the Income Distribution.
Padro i Miguel, Gerard, Nancy Qian and Yang Yao. 2012. Social Fragmentation, Elections and Public Goods: Evidence from China.
Padro i Miguel, Gerard, Nancy Qian, Yao Yiqing and Yang Yao. 2015. Making Democracy Work: Culture, Social Capital and Elections in China.
Nix, Emily and Nancy Qian. 2015. The Fluidity of Race: 'Passing' in the United States, 1880- 1940.
Nunn, Nathan and Nancy Qian. 2015. The Long-run Effects of Agricultural Productivity on Conflict, 1400-1900.
Nunn, Nathan, Nancy Qian and Murat Iyigun. 2017. The Long-run Effects of Climate Change on Conflict, 1400-1900.
Qian, Nancy and Xiaoxue Zhao. 2013. Economic Transition and Private-Sector Labor Demand: Evidence from Urban China.
Banerjee, Abhijit, Tommaso Porzio and Nancy Qian. 2014. Aggregate Fertility and Household Savings: A General Equilibrium Analysis using Micro data.
Golosov, Mikhail and Nancy Qian. 2015. Understanding the Influence of Government-Owned Media: Evidence from Air Pollution in China.
Qian, Nancy. Forthcoming. Quantity-Quality and the One Child Policy: The Positive Effect of Family Size on School Enrollment in China.
Banerjee, Abhijit, Esther Duflo and Nancy Qian. 2012. On the Road: Transportation and Infrastructure Growth in China.
Meng, Xin and Nancy Qian. 2009. The Long-run Impact of Famine on Survivors: Evidence from China's Great Famine 1959-61.
Book Chapters
Nunn, Nathan and Nancy Qian. 2014. "The Determinants of Food Aid Provisions to Africa and the Developing World." In African Successes: Sustainable Growth, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Qian, Nancy. 2014. "Village Governance in China." In The Oxford Companion to the Economics of China, Oxford University Press.
Qian, Nancy. 2007. "Missing Women and the Price of Tea in China: The Effect of Sex-Specific Earnings on Sex Imbalance." In China Labor Economics [Chinese], Beijing: China Academy of Social Sciences Press.

Print Teaching
Teaching Interests

Economic Development, Political Economy, Economies of the Population, Development Economics, Empirical Methods, Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Population

Full-Time / Evening & Weekend MBA
Thought Leadership Seminar (MECN-484-5)
Objective: This thought leadership seminar is designed to facilitate an in-depth exploration of issues facing developing countries, which typically have worse institutions and more violent histories than rich countries. After an introduction about some key differences between rich and poor countries today, we will discuss the determinants and consequences of foreign aid, famine, conflict, democracy and economic growth. Each session will focus on a distinct topic to allow for a comprehensive, yet focused and digestible discussion of the subject matter from both a micro and a macro perspective. The course will discuss cross-country comparisons as well as focus on specific geographic areas such as China.

Format: This seminar consists of lectures, class discussions and group assignments. Source materials will include a combination of first-hand case studies, recent academic and policy research. Students will also be asked – in groups – to lead a discussion/debate on the most important and controversial development policy questions today. They will write a corresponding short opinion / editorial piece and write and present a focused paper in one of the sessions´ topic areas.

Requirements: Prior exposure to statistics/econometrics and micro economics. Interest in economic and institutional development. A high level of preparedness and participation is essential to ensure that the seminar is a rewarding experience for all participants.

Political Economy IV: Topics in Development Economics (MECS-540-4)
This course introduces PhD students to three important topics within development economics and political economy. This course familiarizes students with the frontier of the literature, the questions being asked, the methods most prevalently used, and the evidence thus far. Different topics are covered every year. Examples include contract enforcement and relational contracting of firms, misallocation, firm organization, procurement inefficiencies, corruption, foreign aid, conflict, institutions, community delivery agents. The class will focus on empirical methods and how they connect with theory. The ultimate goal of this course is to help students transition into the research phase of their career -- to help students formulate interesting, relevant and feasible research agendas.