Huayu Xu

I am an Assistant Professor of Economics in National School of Development and ISSCAD at Peking University. I received my PhD from the University of Michigan in 2020. My research interests are in development economics and political economy.

My primary research work combines microdata and policy experiments to understand institutional determinants of human capital and economic development. My second line of research involves randomized controlled trials in field settings, with a focus on the well-being of disadvantaged populations.

Link to my CV



"The Long-Term Health and Economic Consequences of Improved Property Rights." Journal of Public Economics, 2021.

Early-life exposure to China's land property reform improved later-life outcomes. However, reform exposure at critical school ages reduced human capital investment.

"Hostel Takeover: Living Conditions, Reference Dependence, and the Well-being of Migrant Workers," with Ach Adhvaryu and Anant Nyshadham. Revise & Resubmit, Journal of Public Economics.

Worker satisfaction depends critically on how expectations are set by firms. Migrant workers experienced large losses in subjective well-being when randomized improvements in hostel living conditions were more modest than expected.

"The Human Capital Effects of Access to Elite Jobs," with Ach Adhvaryu. Revise & Resubmit, AEJ: Applied Economics.

Better access to elite public sector jobs incentivizes human capital investment.

"In-group Preferences and Land Misallocation in China."

Policymakers' social preferences for in-group members led to spatial misallocation of industrial activities.

Selected Work in Progress

"Impacts of Migration and Employment Opportunities on Rural Women and their Families: A Randomized Controlled Trial," with Ach Adhvaryu, Anant Nyshadham, and Priyanka Sarda.

Baseline survey completed. AEA RCT Registry

"The Value of Managing Up: A Field Experiment in the Workplace," with Ach Adhvaryu, Anant Nyshadham, and Hugh Wu.