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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, Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC); Affiliated Faculty, Yale Institute for Global Health; 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), Yale Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Yale Center for Climate Change and Health, Yale Macmillan Center for International and Area Studies, Yale Institute for Network Science (YINS), and a faculty advisor of the Yale-China Association. He is a PEPPER Scholar at Yale Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center. His research endeavors focus on economics and public policies on population aging, and global health systems. Currently, his main research projects involve: 1) Economics of cognitive aging and Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (ADRD), using both medical claims data and survey data to investigate how cognitive aging may affect decision-making and healthcare utilization, and ADRD care quality, costs and equity; 2) Pension, retirement policies and health of the aging population; 3) The impact of environmental pollution and climate change on older adults; 4) life course factors and healthy aging.

Professor 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, Editor at the Journal of Population Economics, President of the China Health Policy and Management Society (CHPAMS) (2018-2020), and an Academic Committee member of the Global Lecture Series on Chinese Economy. He is an adjunct professor at Peking University and at SJTU-Yale Joint Health Policy Center of Shanghai Jiaotong University. He consults for the United Nations and the World Bank. 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 served as a grant reviewer for the National Sciences Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), the Research Council of Norway, Guest Editor at the Journal of Asian Economics, a member of the editorial board at China CDC Weekly, and a reviewer for more than 30 peer-reviewed journals.

Professor 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 (2014-2022), the Kempf Award (2017-2018), awards from the National Institute of Health (NIH), the U.S. PEPPER Center Scholar Award (2016), Emerging Scholar and Professional Organization Interdisciplinary Paper Award of the Gerontology Association of America (2019), the Best Abstract Award at the Academy Health Research Meetings (2020). He is a Butler-Williams Scholar at the National Institute on Aging (NIA) (2019). His timely and rigorous economic evaluations on the COVID-19 pandemic won the Kuznets Prize (2021).

His research projects funded by public and private funding sources has resulted in 110+ peer-reviewed publications, such as PNAS, LANCET, JAMA, PLoS Medicine, JAERE, JEEM, JoPE, EHP, SSM, JEoA, and AJAE. These studies have been widely covered 3,000+ times in popular media worldwide, such as BBC, CNN, CBS, WSJ, NYT, The Guardian, Financial Times, The Economist, The Washington Post, The Macmillan Report, The Times of London, NPR, NBC News, Reuters, Associated Press, Time Magazine, Fortune, Slate, Forbes, Bloomberg, CNBC, Al Jazeera, World Economic Forum, Science Magazine, Nature, DW, ABC (Australia), ABC (USA), EuroNews, Foreign Policy, FOX News, New Scientist, The Hill, National Geography, Foreign Affairs, The LANCET, RT, Xinhua News Agency, Global Times, and People's Daily, The Hill, CBC, VOA, The Telegraph, AFP, Scientific American, SCMP, The Independent, Yahoo Finance, VoX, Barron's, USA Today, LA Times, WIRED, VICE, The Atlantic, The Scientist Magazine. He is a commentator at BBC, CNN, EuroNews, CGTN. Chen has written opinion pieces for NYT. 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 ten 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 has taught quantitative methods in health economics and health services research, as well as U.S.-China Health Systems at Yale.

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, Jakarta Raya, 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, Southern Finland Province, 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, Guizhou Sheng, 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, Guizhou Sheng, 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, inclu

Honors & Recognition

AwardAwarding OrganizationDate
Top 1.5% Economist WorldwideRePEc2023
Best Paper AwardAustralia Journal of Management2023
Best Abstract Award on Aging, Disability, and End-of-Life CareAcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting (ARM)2021
Kuznets PrizeJournal of Population Economics2021
Butler-Williams ScholarNIH/NIA2019
Emerging Scholar and Professional Organization Interdisciplinary Paper AwardGerontology Association of America2019
Matilda White Riley Early Stage Investigator HonorsNIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research2016
PEPPER ScholarClaude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Centers2016
George F. Warren AwardCornell University2013
Outstanding Doctoral DissertationAgricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA)2013
Best China Paper, Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA)AAEA2011

Professional Service

Peking UniversityAdjunct Professor2021 - 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 - 2020
National Science Foundation (NSF)Reviewer, Economics Program2015 - Present
China Health Review (peer-reviewed journal)Associate Editor2015 - 2020
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