Nancy Qian

Associate Professor, Economics

Phone: 203-432-3639
Email: nancy.qian@yale.edu
Office Location: 27 Hillhouse, Room 14

Nancy Qian is an associate professor of economics at Yale, where she teaches development economics. She is a native of Shanghai, China and holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before coming to Yale, Professor Qian taught at Brown University and was a visiting scholar at the department of economics at Harvard University while she was post-doctoral fellow of the prestigious Harvard Academy Scholars program. She is also currently an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow and has been awarded research grants by organizations such as the National Science Foundation.

Her research is focused on providing rigorous empirical evidence for a set of core questions in development economics that broadly fall into two sub-categories: demography and development, and institutions and development. Her works in the first category include studies of the economic determinants of missing women, the effects of changes in family size on child educational attainment, the long run effects of famine on health and labor supply, the historical effect of the Columbian Exchange on population growth and urbanization, and the extent to which human capital differences can explain cross-country income differences. Her works in the second category include a study of the institutional causes of China’s Great Famine, the effect of elections, the determinants of successful democracy, the determinants and consequences of humanitarian aid, government influence on the media, and several studies on private sector growth and economic transition in China.

Professor Qian's work has been published in top academic journals and featured by the media in outlets such as the Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio. Both the Quarterly Journal of Economics and Science featured her paper on the historical effect of potatoes as the “Editor’s Choice”. In addition to teaching and research, she currently serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Development Economics and has consulted for development agencies such as The World Bank or the Global Development Network.

In her personal time, she enjoys cooking for her friends, walking around New York City, reading, travel photography, visiting art museums, playing tennis, and watching movies and sitcoms. 


Ph.D., Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

B.A., Economics and Japanese, University of Texas at Austin