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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 at Yale Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, and co-leads academic events for young scholars at Yale Program on Aging. His research endeavors focus on improving public policies regarding population aging and life course health, global health systems, as well as climate change and health.

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, President (2018-2020) of the China Health Policy and Management Society (CHPAMS), Butler-Williams Scholar at National Institute on Aging (NIA), 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 consults for the United Nations. He is an alumni affiliate of Cornell Institue on Health Economics, Health Behaviors & Disparities, Cornell Population Center, and Cornell Institute for the Social Sciences.

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), the Kempf Award (2017-2018), awards from the National Institute of Health (NIH), and the U.S. PEPPER Center Scholar Award (2016). He is a Butler-Williams Scholar (2019). His timely and rigorous economics study won the Kuznets Prize (2020).

His research projects funded by public and private funding sources has resulted in 70+ peer-reviewed publications, such as PNAS, LANCET, PLoS Medicine, LANCET Public Health, JEEM, JoPE, EHP, SSM, JoEA, and AJAE. These studies have been widely covered 1,000+ 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, Time Magazine, Fortune, Slate, Forbes, Bloomberg, CNBC, Al Jazeera, World Economic Forum, Science Magazine, ABC, EuroNews, Foreign Policy, FOX News, National Geography, Foreign Affairs, RT, Xinhua News Agency, Global Times, and People's Daily. He is a commentator at BBC, CNN, EuroNews, CCTV, CGTN. 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 six 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.

Over the past eight years, Professor Chen has taught quantitative methods in health economics and health services research, as well as U.S.-China Health Systems at Yale.

Professor 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