3rd Annual UChicago-Renmin Symposium on Family and Labor Economics

All day
Through June 26, 2012

Jun. 25

This conference will be the third annual conference in an ongoing series.  The first in 2010 was held in Beijing and the second took place in 2011 in Chicago.  Leading academics from universities in China, the United States, and other countries will come together to discuss some of the pressing issues facing China’s workforce and population today – including children and human capital, the effects of exogenous shock, crime, gender in the workforce, and sex ratios in the population.

Sunday, June 24

19:00 — Welcome Dinner

Monday, June 25

8:30 — Registration

9:00 — Opening Remarks (Chair: Zhong Zhao, Renmin University of China)

Xiangquan Zeng, Renmin University of China
James J. Heckman, University of Chicago
Dali Yang, University of Chicago

Session One: Labor Contract (Chair: Xiangquan Zeng, Renmin University of China)

9:15 — How Does China’s New Labor Contract Law Affect Floating Workers?

Richard Freeman, Harvard University
Xiaoying Li, Sun Yatsen University

10:05 — Q & A Session

10:15 — Coffee Break

Session Two: Income and Capital (Chair: Junsen Zhang, Chinese University of Hong Kong)

10:30 — Will China Fall into a Middle Income Trap? Growth, Inequality, and Future Instability

Scott Rozelle, Stanford University

11:20 — Q & A Session

11:30 — A Structural Estimation of Capital Market Distortions in the Chinese Manufacturing

Zheng Michael Song, University of Chicago

12:20 — Q & A Session

12:30 — Lunch

Session Three: Migration (Chair: Albert Park, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology)

14:00 — Self-employment and the Willingness to Migrate into Cities on Permanent Basis

Ren Tao, Renmin University of China

14:50 — Q & A Session

15:00 — Village Political Economy, Land Tenure Insecurity and the Rural to Urban Migration Decision: Evidence from China

John Giles, World Bank

Ren Mu, Texas A&M University

15:50 — Q & A Session

16:00 — Coffee Break

Session Four: Family (Chair: Scott Rozelle, Stanford University)

16:15 — Population Control Policies and the Chinese Household Saving Puzzle: A Cohort Analysis

Junsen Zhang, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Suqin Ge, Virginia Tech
Tao Yang, Chinese University of Hong Kong

17:05 — Q & A Session

17:15 — Son Preference in Rural China

Zhong Zhao, Renmin University of China

18:00 — Q & A Session

18:30 — Conference Dinner

20:00 — Return to hotel

Tuesday, April 26

8:30 — Registration

Session Five: Schooling (Chair: Hongbin Li, Tsinghua University)

9:00 — Economic Growth, Comparative Advantage, and Gender Differences in Schooling Outcomes: Evidence from the Birthweight Differences of Chinese Twins

Mark Rosenzweig, Yale University
Junsen Zhang, Chinese University of Hong Kong

9:50 — Q & A Session

10:00 — Coffee Break

Session Six: Labor Market (Chair: John Giles, World Bank)

10:15 — Labor Regulation, Economic Agglomeration, and the China-India Gap

Linxin Colin Xu, World Bank
Wei Li, Cheung Kong Business School
Cheryl Long, Xiamen University

11:05 — Q & A Session

11:15 — China’s Evolving Labor Market

Hongbin Li, Tsinghua University

12:05 — Q & A Session

12:15 — Lunch

Session Seven: Transfers (Chair: Linxin Colin Xu, World Bank)

13:30 — The Crowding-out Effect of Formal Insurance on Informal Risk Sharing Arrangements: An Experimental Study

Juanjuan Meng, Peking University
Wanchuan Lin, Peking University
Yiming Liu, Peking University

14:20 — Q & A Session

14:30 — Housing Windfalls and Intergenerational Transfers in China

Albert Park, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
Maria Poter, University of Oxford
15:20 — Q & A Session

15:30 — Coffee Break

Session Eight: Marriage and Fertility (Chair: Dali Yang, University of Chicago)

15:45 — Hypergamy, Cross-boundary Marriages, and Family Behaviors in Hong Kong

Junjian Yi, University of Chicago
Yoram Weiss, Tel Aviv University
Junsen Zhang, Chinese University of Hong Kong

16:35 — Q & A Session

16:45 — Differential Fertility and Intergenerational Mobility under Private versus Public Education

Simon Fan, Lingnan University at Hong Kong
Jie Zhang, Chongqing University and National University of Singapore

17:35 — Q & A Session

17:45 — Wrap-Up and Closing Remarks

18:00 — Reception at UChicago Center

Biographical Notes

Richard B. FREEMAN

Richard B. Freeman holds the Herbert Ascherman Chair in Economics at Harvard University. He is currently serving as Faculty Co-Director of the Labor and Worklife Program at the Harvard Law School. He directs the National Bureau of Economic Research / Sloan Science Engineering Workforce Project, and is Senior Research Fellow in Labor Markets at the London School of Economics’ Centre for Economic Performance.  Professor Freeman is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Science and is currently serving as a member of two panels at the AAAS (the Initiative for Science and Technology and the Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences). He is also a member of two current panels at the National Academy of Science (the Committee on Assuring a Future U.S.-based Nuclear Chemistry Expertise and the Committee on National Statistics Panel on Developing Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators for the Future). Freeman also served on six previous panels of the National Academy of Sciences, including the Committee on Capitalizing on the Diversity of the Science and Engineering Workforce in Industry, the Committee on National Needs for Biomedical and Behavioral Scientists, and the joint NAS, NAE and IM study on Policy Implications of International Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Scholars in the United States. Freeman received the Mincer Lifetime Achievement Prize from the Society of Labor Economics in 2006, and in 2007 he was awarded the IZA Prize in Labor Economics. In 2011 he was appointed Frances Perkins Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science.

His recent publications include: Can Labor Standards Improve Under Globalization (2004), Emerging Labor Market Institutions for the 21st Century (2005), America Works: The Exceptional Labor Market (2007), What Workers Want (2007 2nd edition), What Workers Say: Employee Voice in the Anglo American World (2007), International Differences in the Business Practices & Productivity of Firms (2009), Science and Engineering Careers in the United States (2009), Reforming the Welfare State: Recovery and Beyond in Sweden (2010), and Shared Capitalism at Work: Employee Ownership, Profit and Gain Sharing, and Broad-based Stock Options (2010). His forthcoming IZA Prize book is Making Europe Work: IZA Labor Economics Series (2012).

Simon FAN

Simon Fan is a Professor of Economics at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. He has contributed theoretical and empirical research on various issues of development economics, such as human capital, intergenerational relations, migration, and corruption. His publications have appeared in Economica, Economic Theory, Economics of Transition, International Economic Review, Journal of Comparative Economics, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Journal of Population Economics, Kyklos, Labour Economics, Oxford Economic Papers, Review of Economics and Statistics, Review of International Economics, Southern Economic Journal, and other journals and scholarly books.


John GILES is Senior Labor Economist in the Development Research Group (Human Development and Public Services Team). He received his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1999. Prior to joining the World Bank in May 2007, he spent two years as an Academy Scholar at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and six years at Michigan State, where he was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor just before joining the World Bank. His current research interests include: the movement of labor from agricultural to non-agricultural employment; internal migration and its impacts on households and communities; poverty traps; household risk-coping and risk-management behavior; population aging and retirement decisions in developing countries; and women’s labor supply decisions in developing countries.


James Joseph Heckman is an American economist and Nobel laureate. He is the Henry Schultz Distinguished Service Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, where he has served since 1973. He holds a parallel appointment as Director of Social Program Evaluation at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago, and is also a Senior Research Fellow at the American Bar Foundation.  Heckman’s research combines both methodological and empirical interests in evaluating the impact of a variety of social programs on the economy and on the society at large. He has written on the impact of civil rights and affirmative action programs in the U.S., on the impact of taxes on labor supply and human capital accumulation, on the impact of public and private job training on earnings and employment, on the impact of unionism on labor markets in developing countries, and on the impact of skill certification programs.

He has also contributed substantially to the literature both in applied and theoretical econometrics. His methodological work on selection bias and on the evaluation of social programs is widely cited, as is his research on the analysis of heterogeneity in consumer preferences and on the analysis of longitudinal data. He published a series of influential papers on the identifiability of broad classes of econometric models. Heckman has received numerous honors for his research. He is an associate editor of the Journal of Labor Economics and the Journal of Applied Econometrics. He is also a fellow of the Econometric Society, the Society of Labor Economics, the American Statistical Association, and the International Statistical Institute; and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He received the John Bates Clark Award from the American Economic Association in 1983.  In 2000, he was co-winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics for his development of theory and methods for analyzing selective samples.

Hongbin LI

Hongbin Li is C.V. Starr professor of economics in the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China. He is also the executive associate director of the China Data Center. He obtained Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University in 2001. Before returning to Tsinghua, he was full professor (tenured) in the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is a Research Fellow of IZA, a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Comparative Economics and the China Economic Review. He also serves as an Academic Advisor for McKinsey Global Institute. He received Changjiang Scholarship in 2009, the National Award for Distinguished Young Scientists in China in 2010, and the McKinsey Young Economist Research Paper Award in 2012.  Professor Li’s research has been focused on China and is concerned with two general themes; a) the behaviors of governments, firms and banks in the context of economic transition; b) human capital and labor market in the context of economic development. Research results have been published in leading journals such as Journal of Political Economy, American Economic Review, Economic Journal, Review of Economics and Statistics, Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Comparative Economics, Demography etc.

Juanjuan MENG

Juanjuan Meng is an Assistant Professor in Guanghua School of Management, Peking University. She obtains her PhD from University of California, San Diego, in 2010. Her research interests cover Behavioral Economics, Labor Economics, Behavioral Finance and Economic Development. She has worked as Editorial Assistant in American Economic Review, and her joint work with Vincent Crawford was published in American Economic Review in 2011.

Albert Francis PARK

Albert Park is Chair Professor of Social Science, Professor of Economics, and Senior Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He is also a research fellow of Center for Economic Policy Research (CEPR), London; the IZA Institute for the Study of Labor, Bonn, and the International Growth Centre (DFID/Oxford/LSE).


Mark R. Rosenzweig is the Frank Altschul Professor of International Economics in the Department of Economics and the Director of the Economic Growth Center at Yale University. Professor Rosenzweig received his Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University in 1973. Prior to moving to Yale in 2005, he was the Mohamed Kamal Professor of Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University and Director of The Center for International Development.

Professor Rosenzweig has written extensively on issues in economic development, human capital, migration and demography. He has edited two Handbooks of Economics, The Handbook of Population and Family Economics, with Oded Stark (Elsevier, 1996), and the Handbook of Development Economics, Volume 5, with Dani Rodrik (Elsevier, 2010). He has also co-authored a book on US Immigration and has published over 100 articles in books and scholarly journals, including the American Economic Review, the Journal of Political Economy etc. He was elected a fellow of the Econometric Society in 1994 and a fellow of the Society of Labor Economists in 2009.  Professor Rosenzweig is currently co-Principal Investigator of the New Immigrant Survey, the first and only representative panel survey of legal immigrants in the United States. He has published extensively on immigration using data from the survey, including as a coauthor of an article on legal and illegal immigrants that won the Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship in Population from the Population Section of the American Sociological Association in 2009.


Scott Rozelle is the Helen F. Farnsworth Senior Fellow and the co-director of the Rural Education Action Program in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. He received his BS from the University of California, Berkeley, and his MS and PhD from Cornell University. Previously, Rozelle was a professor at the University of California, Davis and an assistant professor in Stanford’s Food Research Institute and department of economics. He currently is a member of several organizations, including the American Economics Association, the International Association for Agricultural Economists, and the Association for Asian Studies and also serves on the editorial boards of Economic Development and Cultural Change, Agricultural Economics, the Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, and the China Economic Review.  His research focuses almost exclusively on China and is concerned with: agricultural policy, including the supply, demand, and trade in agricultural projects; the emergence and evolution of markets and other economic institutions in the transition process and their implications for equity and efficiency; and the economics of poverty and inequality, with an emphasis on rural education, health and nutrition.

Zheng Michael SONG

Zheng (Michael) Song is Assistant Professor of Economics at Booth. Prior to joining Booth he served as Assistant Professor in the department of economics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and as a research fellow in the school of economics at Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Song studies macroeconomics, Chinese economy, and political economy. His most recent publications include “Persistent Ideology and the Determination of Public Policies over Time” and “Growing like China” which was co- authored with Kjetil Storesletten and Fabrizio Zilibotti.  Song earned his PhD in economics from the Institute for International Economic Studies, Stockholm University. He also holds an MPhil in economics from the University College London, a MA in economics from Fudan University and a BA in economics from Shanghai Institute for Foreign Trade. With experience teaching at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, Song has taught courses such as Advanced Macroeconomics, Chinese Economy, and Dynamic Optimization. At Booth he teaches a course on China.


Ran TAO is Professor of Economics at Renmin University of China. He also worked at the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy at Chinese Academy of Science in 2002 and 2008, and was a post-doctoral research fellow at Oxford University between 2003 and 2007. Profess Tao’s main research interests include the political economy of China’s economic transition, public finance, rural governance, urbanization, and China’s land use system. His recent English publications have appeared in the Journal of Comparative Economics, Journal of Development Studies, Political Studies, Urban Studies and China Quarterly. He received a PhD in Economics from UChicago.

Linxin Colin XU

LIXIN COLIN XU is a lead economist in the Development Research Group of The World Bank. After studying at Peking University and the University of Chicago, he joined the Research Group of the World Bank in 1996. His current research has focused on applied microeconomic topics such as development, institutions, corporate governance, political economy, labor and household economics, income distribution, and Chinese economy in transition. Besides many Chinese publications, Colin also has published widely on effects of institutional reforms, political economy of institutional changes, growth and inequality, access to finance, government-business relationship, and China’s transition. He has also contributed to many background papers for World Bank reports such as World Development Report.

Dali L. YANG

Dali L. Yang is a Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Chicago, the founding Faculty Director of UChicago Center in Beijing. Professor Yang is also a board member of the Paulson Institute at the University of Chicago, a member of the Committee of 100, and a member of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, as well as a member of the China Committee of the Chicago Sister Cities International Program. His research interests include political institutions and political economy, with special reference to China. He teaches classes on Chinese politics, political economy, and foreign policy at UChicago.  Professor Yang has served previously as Chairman of the Political Science Department, Director of The Center for East Asian Studies, and Director of the Committee on International Relations, all at the University of Chicago. He also previously served as Director of the East Asian Institute at the National University of Singapore.  Professor Yang has authored and edited numerous books and scholarly articles. He has served on the editorial boards of various journals, including American Political Science Review, World Politics, Asian Perspective, Journal of Contemporary China, and Journal of Chinese Political Science and as co-editor of China: An International Journal. He has been a co-director of the University of Chicago Workshop on East Asia: Politics, Economy and Society. He is a life member of professional associations such as the American Political Science Association and the Association for Asian Studies.

Junjian YI

Junjian Yi is a post-doctoral scholar in the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago, jointly supervised by Prof. Becker and Heckman. Dr. Yi received his M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees in Economics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 2007 and 2011 respectively, supervised by Prof. Junsen Zhang. Before entering the Chinese University of Hong Kong, he obtained his master degree in Economics at Zhejiang University in 2005, supervised by Prof. Xianguo Yao. Dr. Yi is interested in Labor and Demographic Economics and Development Economics. Specifically, he has been focused on three major topics: (i) The causes and consequences of the demographic changes in Mainland China, Hong Kong, and East Asia, including topics on marriage, fertility, and sex ratio imbalance; (ii) Education, migration, labor market dynamics, and inequality in Mainland China and Hong Kong; (iii) Family behaviors, human capital formation, and intergenerational mobility.

Junsen ZHANG

Junsen Zhang obtained his Ph.D. in economics from McMaster University in 1990. From 1989 to 1990, he was a Lecturer of Econometrics at the Australian National University. From 1990 to 1993, he was an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Western Ontario. Since 1993 he has been in the Department of Economics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he is currently a Chair Professor of Economics. His research has focused on the economics of family behavior, including crime, fertility, marriage, education, intergenerational transfers, marital transfers, gender bias, and old-age support (pensions). He also works on family-related macro issues, such as aging, social security, and economic growth. Using quantitative methods and many data sets from different countries (regions), either micro or macro, he has studied economic issues in Canada, USA, The Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong, as well as China. He has published in the leading international refereed economics journals such as Journal of Political Economy, Economic Journal, Review of Economics & Statistics and International Economic Review, and many leading field top journals such as Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Human Resources and Journal of Population Economics. He is an Editor of the Journal of Population Economics, and the President of the Hong Kong Economic Association.

Zhong ZHAO

Zhong Zhao is a professor of economics at the School of Labor and Human Resources, Renmin University of China since 2008, and a research fellow of the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) at Bonn, Germany. He holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Renmin University of China and a doctorate degree in economics from the Johns Hopkins University. Prior to assuming his position at Renmin University of China, he had worked at IZA, Peking University, and Finance Bureau of Yunnan Province. Currently he is an associate editor of the IZA Journal of Labor & Development. His main areas of interest are labor economics, health economics, applied micro-econometrics, and social program evaluation. His recent research topics on China include earnings instability and inequality, rural-urban migration, labor contract and labor relations in China, and Health & health care reform in China.

Xiangquan ZENG

Xiangquan Zeng is Professor of Economics, the Dean of School of Labor and Human Resources, and the Director of the China Institute for Employment Research at Renmin University of China. Professor Zeng received his Ph.D. in Economics from Renmin University of China in 1987. He was a Fulbright Visiting Scholar from September 1998 to June 1999 in the United States. Professor Zeng is a prominent specialist in labor economics and human resources in China, and the author of 6 books and over 50 academic papers. His research has been funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the National Social Science Foundation of China, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), and the World Bank.  He has served on several governmental advisory committees and is an influential figure in labor market and other social policy issues in China. He is a vice-president of the China Association for Labor Studies, and a vice-president of the Chinese Human Resource Development Association.

Organizers: James Heckman (Department of Economics), Dali Yang (Department of Political Science), in collaboration with Becker-Friedman the Institute at the University of Chicago, and Zhong Zhao, Renmin University of China School of Labor and Human Resources.