Yang Yang

Profile photo of Yang Yang
I am a Ph.D. candidate in Global Economics and Management at the University of California, Los Angeles. I am on the job market this year. I will attend the AEA/AFA meeting in Chicago in January, 2017.

GEM PhD Student


Place of Origin
Changxing, PR China

BS in Economics (2011) 
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology 
Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong

Research Interests
International Macroeconomics
Urban and Transportation Economics
International Trade
Economic Growth

Entered program in 2011

Transport Infrastructure, City Productivity Growth and Industry Reallocation: Evidence from China 
(Job Market Paper)
Abstract: This paper examines the impact of highway expansion on aggregate productivity growth and sectoral reallocation between cities in China. To do so, I construct a unique dataset of bilateral transportation costs between Chinese cities, digitized highway network maps, and firm-level census. I first derive and estimate a market access measure for cities in China from 1995 to 2005. I then examine the channels through which the highway infrastructure affected economic outcomes. I find that highways promoted aggregate productivity growth by facilitating entry of new firms and reallocation among existing firms. I estimate the aggregate economic impact of China's national highway system and find that eliminating all highways in China would decrease aggregate productivity by 3.2%. There is also evidence that the national highway system led to a sectoral reallocation between cities in China.

"Machinery Imports and Productivity Growth"
: Do firms in developing economies improve their productivity by importing foreign technology? If so, to what extent? In this paper, I examine the effects of machinery importing on firm productivity for Chinese manufacturing firms. To do so, I develop a new algorithm to merge the Chinese firm-level census data with the Chinese Customs data. I first employ a propensity score matching technique to identify the impact of machinery imports on firm productivity. I use an instrumental variable approach to address the endogeneity of importing decisions. Finally, I estimate a simple empirical model to examine the heterogeneous effects and to quantify the aggregate impact of machinery importing. I find that machinery and equipment imports improved firm productivity in China and could potentially generate large gains in aggregate productivity. The results suggest that importing foreign machinery goods is important for technology diffusion.

"Determinants of Gender Inequality: The Role of Macro and Structural Policies, Infrastructure and Institutions"
(with Sonali Jain-Chandra, Kalpana Kochhar, Monique Newiak and Edda Zoli)
Abstract: This project examines the determinants of gender gaps in opportunities and outcomes, with an emphasis on the impact of structural and fiscal policies at the macro-level. Building on evidence from both macro studies for advanced economies and micro-level studies for emerging economies, we empirically evaluate the effects of structural factors, legal rights, fiscal policies, infrastructure and access to finance on gender gaps in labor force participation and education. In addition to standard panel analysis, we address model uncertainty by applying Bayesian Model Averaging (BMA) to systematically identify the most fundamental and robust determinants of these gender gaps. We highlight the important role of infrastructure in reducing gender gaps in both labor force participation and education, the positive impact of public spending on education, as well as labor market protection and legal rights as robust determinants of female labor force participation for emerging economies.

How Does Long-Term Finance Contribute to Economic Performance 
(with Meghana Ayyagari, Asli Demirgüç-Kunt and Thierry Tressel)

The Regional Effects of Trade Liberalization

Cities, Trade and Productivity
(with Alvaro Garcia, Andrei Potlogea and Nico Voigtländer)

High-Speed Rail and Urbanization Revisited:  Evidence from the Shinkansen System
(with Matt Kahn, Jerry Nickelsburg and Saurabh Ahluwalia)

Government Subsidies and Aggregate Productivity: the Case of Zombie Firms in China
(with Wei Li)

Intermediate Inputs, Misallocation and Aggregate TFP