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Xi Chen, PhD

Associate Professor of Public Health (Health Policy) and Associate Professor at Institution for Social and Policy Studies; Affiliated Faculty, Department of Economics



Xi Chen, Ph.D., is an associate professor of Public Health (Health Policy), of Global Health, of Economics, and of Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Yale University. He is a faculty fellow at the Yale Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS), the Yale Climate Change and Health Initiative, the Yale Macmillan Center for International and Area Studies, the Yale Institute for Network Science (YINS), and a faculty advisor of the Yale-China Association. He is a PEPPER Scholar and co-leads academic events for young scholars at Yale Program on Aging and Yale Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center. His areas of interest involve Health, Labor, Development Economics, and Applied Econometrics and Quantitative Methods. His research focuses on public policies related to health over the life cycle, population aging, climate change and health, and quality of life.

Chen is a research fellow at the IZA Institute of Labor Economics, fellow at the Global Labor Organization (GLO) and its Cluster Lead in Environment and Human Capital in Developing Countries, President of the China Health Policy and Management Society (CHPAMS), Butler-Williams Scholar at National Institute on Aging (NIA), a grant reviewer of the National Sciences Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), the Research Council of Norway, and a reviewer of more than 30 peer-reviewed journals. He is an alumni affiliate of Cornell Institute on Health Economics, Health Behaviors & Disparities, Cornell Population Center, and Cornell Institute for the Social Sciences. He has consulted for the United Nations.

Chen's work has been recognized through numerous awards, including the Best China Paper from the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association (AAEA) (2011), the George Warren Award (2012), the Outstanding Ph.D. Dissertation Award from the AAEA (2013), the MacMillan Faculty Research Award (2013, 2017), USDA-ERS (2008), James Tobin Summer Research Award (2014), the Kempf Award (2017-2018), awards from the National Institute of Health (NIH), the Butler-Williams Scholar (2019), and the U.S. PEPPER Center Scholar Award (2016).

His research projects funded by public and private funding sources has resulted in 60+ peer-reviewed publications, such as PNAS, LANCET, PLoS Medicine, LANCET Public Health, JEEM, EHP, SSM, JoEA, and AJAE. These studies have been widely covered in 600+ popular media worldwide, such as BBC, CNN, WSJ, NYT, The Guardian, Financial Times, The Economist, The Washington Post, The Macmillan Report, The Times of London, NPR, Time Magazine, Fortune, Slate, Forbes, Bloomberg, CNBC, Al Jazeera, World Economic Forum, Science Magazine, ABC, EuroNews, Foreign Policy, National Geography, Foreign Affairs, Xinhua News Agency, and People's Daily. He is a commentator at China Central Television. Chen has been invited by The National Committee on United States China Relations (NCUSCR) as a delegate of U.S. - China Healthcare Dialogue (Track II).

In the past five years, Professor Chen has supervised more than 30 postdoctoral fellows, PhD students and Yale College students who have won a number of outstanding paper awards.

Chen obtained a Ph.D. in Applied Economics from Cornell University.

Education & Training

  • PhD
    Cornell University (2012)
  • MS
    Nanjing Agricultural University (2007)


  • Birth Spacing and Child Health
    Jakarta, Indonesia 2012
    This collaborative project investigates a causal connection between birth spacing and broad dimensions of child and maternal health status and dynamics using four waves of Indonesia Family Life Survey (IFLS).
  • New Approaches to Measuring Poverty and Vulnerability
    China; Helsinki, Finland 2011
    Working with researchers from United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), this project seeks innovative ways to measuring poverty and vulnerability that contribute to poverty and behavioral Economics.
  • Social Network Data Collection
    Anshun, China 2009
    Working with researchers from International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, I'm designing and implementing a unique social network data collection in the poorest Guizhou province in China. The detailed network collection involves multiple dimensions.
  • Poverty and Public Investment (2004-)
    Guiyang, China 2004
    Working together with researchers from International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, I have been engaging in developing and implementing a census-type longitudinal household and individual survey in rural western China. The initial goal of the project was to investigate the role played by government investment in public infrastructure on poverty alleviation. The project has been expended to all major aspects of daily life among the poor, including farm and off-farm production, migration, consumption and other family activities, health dynamics, nutrition, and education. We have finished four waves of data collection.

Honors & Recognition

AwardAwarding OrganizationDate
Outstanding Doctoral DissertationAgricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA)2013
Best China Paper, Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA)AAEA2011

Professional Service

China Center for Economics of Human DevelopmentFellow2018 - Present
Peking UniversityAdjunct Professor2018 - Present
Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Centers (OAIC)PEPPER Scholar2017 - Present
Global Labor OrganizationFellow; Cluster Lead (Environment and Human Capital in Developing Countries)2017 - Present
China Health Policy and Management SocietyPresident-Elect (2016-2018); President (2018-2020)2016 - Present
National Science Foundation (NSF)Reviewer, Economics Program2015 - Present
China Health Review (peer-reviewed journal)Associate Editor2015 - Present
IZA Institute of Labor EconomicsFellow2014 - Present
Yale-China AssociationAdvisor, Chia Family Health Fellowship2014 - Present
United Nations Research Institute for Social DevelopmentReviewer2013 - Present
United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics ResearchConsultant2012 - 2014

Departments & Organizations