top of page


Using demographic, statistical, and econometric methods, my research illustrates how societal change and demographic shifts interact to produce consequences both at the population-level and for the wellbeing of individuals and families. My research focuses on two major domains: (1) migration and social inequality in China; and (2) aging, health, and life course. 

Migration and Social Inequality in China

How migration shapes childhood of rural children in a dynamic way is understudied. I construct multi-state life tables to  describe how migration affects childhood of rural children in a dynamic perspective. In particular, I document the child return migration that reflects the constrained education opportunity of migrant children in urban destinations. Read more

There has been a large and long-standing wage gap between migrant and urban local workers. I study how changing levels of labor market informality since the 2000s affects the local-migrant wage gap leveraging the cross-province variation of 2008 Labor Contract Law enforcement. I found informality has become an increasingly important source of the wage gap between local and migrant workers. Despite the promise of the Labor Contract Law for improving working conditions, the policy-induced reduction of informality has done little to reduce the migrant wage penalty.

Anchor 2

Aging, Health, and Life Course

As family sizes have shrunk, and young adults have moved to cities, a larger share of adults face older ages with fewer demographic supports for caregiving (co-authored with Jenna Nobles (UW- Madison)). We examine how the alignment of large-scale demographic change with large-scale technological change --- the development of mobile telecommunication --- has shaped elderly welfare in Indonesia. We found mobile telecommunication has facilitated frequent contact between elders and their non-coresident adult children. Read more. 

Number of mobile phone subscribers per 100 persons in Indonesia

Obesity has been a rising public health concern. We draw on theories in demography and population genetics to investigate how individual and population health is influenced by both social and biological determinants, as well as the interaction between them. In a paper co-authored with co-authored with Alberto Palloni (UW-Madison), Hiram Beltrán -Sánchaz (UCLA), and Mary McEniry (UW-Madison), We explore how gene-environment interactions shape population obesity trends at middle and older ages. Read more. 

Relationship between genetic predisposition (x-axis) and BMI (y-axis) by cohort

The accelerated epidemiological transitions in middle- and low- income settings has great implication on population health and aging. In papers published at Population Studies and PLOS, we have examined how circumstances in early life have a “long-arm”, shaping individual health during old ages. In this series of papers I co-authored with Alberto Palloni (UW-Madison), Hiram Beltrán -Sánchaz (UCLA), and Mary McEniry (UW-Madison), we use micro simulation alongside natural experiments and graphic analysis to assess the impact of poor early conditions on health at older ages in middle- and low-income countries.

Anchor 1
bottom of page