Estimating the Causal Effects of Physical Disability and Number of Comorbid Chronic Diseases on Depressive Symptom Risk in an Elderly Chinese Population: A Machine Learning Analysis of Cross-Sectional Baseline Data from the China Longitudinal Ageing Social Survey

with Zhenjie Wang, Chenxi Sun, and Shenda Hong

BMJ Open, 2023, 13(7), e069298. 

Third-Child Fertility Intention and Its Socioeconomic Factors among Women Aged 20-34 Years in China

with Runlin Han, and Zhenjie Wang 

BMC Public Health, 2023, 23: 821, 1-11

Dynamic Trend of China's Population Ageing and New Characteristics of the Elderly (中国人口老龄化新趋势及老年人口新特征)

Population Research (人口研究), 2022, 46(5), 104-116

Socioeconomics, Health-Related Factors, and Tooth Loss among the Population Aged over 80 Years in China

Hanmo Yang, Runlin Han, and Zhenjie Wang 

BMC Public Health, 2022, 22: 444, 1-11

Impacts of Family Household Dynamics on Residential Energy Demands in Hebei Province of China

with Yi Zeng, Zhenglian Wang, and Lan Li

Genus, 2021, 77: 35, 1-22

Does Ownership Matter for Medical System Performance? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Suqian, China 

with Gordon Guoen Liu, Julie Shi, Xiaoqian Wang, and Hengpeng Zhu

Inquiry: The Journal of Health Care Organization, Provision, and Financing, 2020, 57, 1-10

Life Negative Events and Depressive Symptoms: The China Longitudinal Ageing Social Survey

with Zhenjie Wang, Pianpian Zheng, Bei Liu et al.

BMC Public Health, 2020, 20: 968, 1-6


Socio-Demographic Characteristics and Co-Occurrence of Depressive Symptoms with Chronic Diseases among Older Adults in China: The China Longitudinal Ageing Social Survey

with Zhenjie Wang, Zhanyuan Guo, Bei Liu, and Shen Geng

BMC Psychiatry, 2019, 19: 310, 1-6

Working Papers

Getting Urgent Health Care in Time: The Impact of China’s Poverty Alleviation Program 

with Xiaoyan Lei and Ang Sun, under review

This paper estimates the impact of the 8-7 National Plan for Poverty Reduction, a large-scale poverty alleviation program in China during 1994–2000, on the mortality rate from cerebrovascular diseases. The rollout of the program after 1994 was mainly based on whether the average income per capita of a county fell below a certain cutoff, which allows for the design of a combination regression discontinuity and difference-in-differences approach. Using data collected from the National Disease Surveillance Points system, the analysis suggests that the poverty alleviation program decreased the cerebrovascular disease mortality rate by at least 28.0%l, which is mainly attributed to the construction of local health centers under the poverty alleviation program. The analysis finds that the reduction in mortality was mostly due to fewer deaths at home. Other aspects of the program, such as road construction, also likely played a part in the reduction in mortality from cerebrovascular diseases.

How Much Does Government’s Short-Term Response Matter for The Spread of COVID-19?

with Gordon Guoen Liu, Xiaoyun Peng, and Junjian Yi, 1st round Revise & Resubmit

Objective: We study the predetermined characteristics of countries in addition to their government nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to shed light on the determinants of the variations in COVID-19 transmission outcomes across countries.


Methods and Analysis: We conduct a systematic investigation of the validity of government responses in 85 countries by gradually adding the predetermined cultural, natural, and socioeconomic factors of each country using a fixed-effect model and daily panel data. A relative importance analysis is conducted to isolate the contribution of each variable to the R-squared of the model.


Results: Government NPIs are effective in containing the virus spread and explain approximately 10% of the variations in the pandemic outcomes. COVID-19 is more prevalent in countries that are more individual-oriented or with a higher GDP per capita, while a country’s current BCG vaccination policy, government expenditure on health as a proportion of GDP, and median age are negatively associated with the infection outcome. The SARS-CoV-2 lifecycle and the impacts of other unobserved factors together explain almost half of the variation in the prevalence of COVID-19 across countries. The degree of individualism explains 6.18% of the variation, and the explanatory power of the other socioeconomic determinants is less than 3% each.


Conclusion: Our findings confirm that the stronger or faster the government responses, the lower the level of infections. Various factors underpin the variation in the control of COVID-19. Without taking country-specific conditions into account, it is highly likely to overestimate the impact of the NPIs.

Do Actual Caregivers Meet Expectations? Motivation, Behavior, and Impacts of Informal Care to Parents 

with Yaohui Zhao

This study aims to investigate the gap between expected and actual caregivers of parents in need of care and its impact on care receivers. Using panel data from the four waves of the nationally-representative China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS), we employ a family fixed-effects linear probability model to examine the characteristics of expected and actual caregivers of individuals aged 45 and above who experienced functional impairment between 2011 and 2018. Our results suggest that 38.44% of men and 41.79% of women have at least one actual caregiver who met their earlier expectations. Regarding caregivers, the division of labor among siblings for supporting parents through economic transfer and in-person care depends on their opportunity cost of caring. Children who are not actual caregivers of their parents are more likely to provide economic support. Our findings imply that parents’ behaviors toward economic support align more with the altruism motivation, whereas their behavior toward providing care aligns more with the exchange motivation. Furthermore, women who reside in self-owned properties may have greater leverage in selecting their preferred caregivers. As a result, being taken care of by expected caregivers significantly enhances parents’ positive emotions toward life, especially for women.

Life Expectancy, Population Ageing, and Economic Growth (预期寿命、人口老龄化与经济增长)

with Nan Xiao (与肖楠合作)

To investigate the impact of increased life expectancy on economic growth and its mechanism, this paper develops a growth model that captures

human capital and physical capital accumulation, in which life expectancy depends on the government’s health investment and contributes to the utility function. Using panel data from 127 countries over 1970-2019, this paper discovers that the increased life expectancy is positively correlated with the growth rates of human capital and physical capital, and the latter is especially salient in low- and lower-middle-income countries. Further research by periods reveals that since 1985, only low- and lower-middle-income countries benefited from the increased life expectancy in terms of GDP per capita growth rate, and it became a restrictive factor of economic growth for high- and upper-middle-income countries after 2000. Meanwhile, population aging slows down economic growth in general, but it contributes to the proportion of tertiary industry in GDP.

Book Chapters

Chapter 1-6, 25, 26, 28, 29, with Yi Zeng, Zhenglian Wang, and Danan Gu, Chapter 36-39, with Yi Zeng, Zhenglian Wang, and Liquan Zhou, in Multistate Methods for Household and Living Arrangement Projections and Applications in Socioeconomic Planning Research《多维家庭人口预测方法创新与应用研究》, 2021, Edited by Xizhe Peng, China Science Publishing & Media Ltd. 本书入选“十三五”国家重点出版物出版规划项目、国家自然科学基金重大项目

Influence Among Preferences and Its Transformation to Behaviors in Groups, with Hang Luo, Zhenjie Wang, Shengzi Yang, and Yuke Gong, in Group Decision and Negotiation: A Multidisciplinary Perspective, 2020, Edited by Danielle Costa Morais, Liping Fang, and Masahide Horita, Springer, Cham.