Zhang Junsen

Prof. ZHANG Junsen
Wei Lun Professor of Economics/Department Head
Tel: (852) 3943-8186
Email: jszhang@cuhk.edu.hk
Office Location: Room 927, Esther Lee Building
Home Page: http://www.cuhk.edu.hk/eco/staff/jszhang/jzhang.htm

B.Sc. (Zhejiang)
MA, Ph.D. (McMaster)

Research Interest

Labour and Family Economics
Applied Econometrics


Prof. Zhang is currently Wei Lun Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Before returning to Hong Kong, he was Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics, University of Western Ontario. He is a Fellow of the Econometric Society. He received a B.Sc. in Engineering from Zhejiang University in 1983, and an M.A. and Ph.D. both in Economics from McMaster University in 1986 and 1990, respectively.

His research (both theoretical and empirical) has focused on the economics of family behaviour, including crime, fertility, marriage, education, intergenerational transfers, marital transfers, gender bias, and old-age support. He also works on family-related macro issues, such as ageing, social security, and economic growth. Using many data sets from different countries (regions), either micro or macro, he has studied economic issues in Canada, the US, the Philippines, Taiwan, Hong Kong, as well as Mainland China. 

He has published over 90 papers in major refereed international journals. Many of them were published in leading economics journals such as Journal of Political Economy, Review of Economic Studies, Economic Journal, Review of Economics and Statistics and International Economic Review, or in leading field journals such as Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of Development Economics, Journal of Human Resources, and Journal of International Economics. He has been Editor of the Journal of Population Economics since 2001, and had been the President of the Hong Kong Economic Association from 2007 to 2011. 


1. J. Zhang, "Socioeconomic Determinants of Fertility in China: A Microeconometric Analysis," Journal of Population Economics, (1990) 3: 105‑123.

2. J. Zhang, "Mortality and Fertility: How Large is the Direct Child Replacement Effect in China?" Journal of Population Economics, (1990) 3: 303‑314.

3. K. Nishimura and J. Zhang, "Pay‑as‑you‑go Public Pensions with Endogenous Fertility," Journal of Public Economics, (1992) 48: 239-258.

4. J. Zhang and B. G. Spencer, "Who Signs China's One‑Child Certificate, and Why?" Journal of Population Economics, (1992) 5: 203-215.

5. J. Zhang, "Holding Excess Capacity to Deter Entry in a Labor‑managed Industry," Canadian Journal of Economics, (1993) 26: 222-234.

6. L. Rhee and J. Zhang, "Breath Testing in Canada: Deterrence or Detection?" Applied Economics, (1993) 25: 765-775.

7. J. Zhang and K. Nishimura, "Old‑age Security Hypothesis Revisited," Journal of Development Economics, (1993) 41: 191-202.

8. T. Fry, R. Brooks, B. Comley and J. Zhang, "Limited Dependent Variables Models and Their Economic Motivations," Economic Record, (1993) 69: 193-205.

9. J. Zhang and S. D. Hoffman, "Discrete-Choice Logit Models: Testing the IIA Property," Sociological Methods and Research, (1993) 22: 193-213.

10. R. Sturm and J. Zhang, "Fecundibility and Social Development in China: Changes in the Distribution of the First Conception Interval," Biometrical Journal, (1993) 35: 985-995.

11. J. Zhang, J. Quan and P. Van Meerbergen, "The Effect of Tax-Transfer Policies on Fertility in Canada, 1921-1988," Journal of Human Resources, (1994) 29: 181-201.

12. J. Zhang, "Bequest as a Public Good within Marriage: A Note," Journal of Political Economy, (1994) 102: 187-193.

13. J. Zhang and R. Sturm, "When Do Couples Sign the One-Child Certificate in Urban China?" Population Research and Policy Review, (1994) 13: 69-81.

14. J. Zhang, "Socioeconomic Determinants of Fertility in Hebei Province, China: An Application of the Sequential Logit Approach," Economic Development and Cultural Change, (1994) 43: 67-90.

15. K. Nishimura and J. Zhang, "Sustainable Plans of Social Security with Endogenous Fertility," Oxford Economic Papers, (January 1995) 47: 182-194.

16. J. B. Davies and J. Zhang, "Gender Bias, Investments in Children and Bequests," International Economic Review, (August 1995) 36(3): 795-818.

17. J. Zhang, "Do Men with Higher Wages Marry Earlier or Later?" Economics Letters, (August 1995) 49: 193-196.

18. Junsen Zhang and Junxi Zhang, "The Effects of Social Security on Population and Output Growth," Southern Economic Journal, (1995) 62(2): 440-450.

19. H. Qiu and J. Zhang, "Determinants of Tourist Arrivals and Expenditures in Canada," Journal of Travel Research, (Fall 1995) 34(2): 43-49.

20. J. B. Davies and J. Zhang, "Measuring Marginal Income Tax Rates for Individuals in Canada: Averages and Distributions Over Time," Canadian Journal of Economics, (November 1996) 29(4): 959-975.

21. Jie Zhang and Junsen Zhang, "Fertility and Wage Rates in an Overlapping Generations General Equilibrium Model," Canadian Journal of Economics, (February 1997) 30(1): 224-234.

22. J. Zhang, "The Effect of Welfare Programs on Criminal Behavior: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Economic Inquiry, (January 1997) 35(1): 120-137.

23. J. B. Davies and J. Zhang, "The Effects of Gender Control on Fertility and Children's Consumption," Journal of Population Economics, (1997) 10(1): 67-85.

24. C. R. Arroyo and J. Zhang, "Dynamic Microeconomic Models of Fertility Choice: A Survey," Journal of Population Economics, (1997) 10(1): 23-65.

25. T. Li and J. Zhang, "Returns to Education under Collective and Household Farming in China," Journal of Development Economics, (August 1998) 56(2): 307-335.

26. Junsen Zhang and Junxi Zhang, "Social Security, Intergenerational Transfers, and Endogenous Growth," Canadian Journal of Economics, (November 1998) 31(5): 1225-1241.

27. J. Zhang and W. Chan, "Dowry and Wife's Welfare: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, (August 1999) 107 (4): 786-808.

28. Junsen Zhang, Jie Zhang and T. Li, "Gender Bias and Economic Development in an Endogenous Growth Model," Journal of Development Economics, (August 1999) 59: 497-525.

29. P.W. Liu and J. Zhang, "Assortative Mating versus the Cross-productivity Effect," Applied Economics Letters, (1999) 6: 523-525, UK.

30. P.W. Liu, X. Meng and J. Zhang, "Sectoral Gender Wage Differentials and Discrimination in the Transitional Chinese Economy," Journal of Population Economics, (May 2000) 13(2): 331-352.

31. Y. F. Fong and J. Zhang, "The Identification of Unobservable Independent and Spousal Leisure," Journal of Political Economy, (February 2001) 109(1): 191-202.

32. J. Zhang, "Sex Preference, Marriage of Heirs, and Bequest Behavior," Japanese Economic Review, (March 2001) 52(1): 70-76.

33. Junsen Zhang, Jie Zhang and Ronald Lee, "Mortality Decline and Long-run Economic Growth," Journal of Public Economics, (June 2001) 80: 485-507.

34. Junsen Zhang and Junxi Zhang, "Bequest Motives, Social Security, and Economic Growth," Economic Inquiry, (July 2001) 39(3): 453-466.

35. Jie Zhang and Junsen Zhang, "Longevity and Economic Growth in a Dynastic Family Model with an Annuity Market," Economics Letters, (August 2001) 72(2): 269-277.

36. X. Meng and J. Zhang, "The Two-tier Labour Market in Urban China: Occupational Segregation and Wage Differentials between Urban Residents and Rural Migrants in Shanghai," Journal of Comparative Economics, (September 2001) 29: 485-504.

37. Y.W. Sung, J. Zhang and C.S. Chan, "Gender Wage Differentials and Occupational Segregation in Hong Kong, 1981-1996," Pacific Economic Review, (October 2001) 6(3): 345-359.

38. Stark and J. Zhang, "Counter-Compensatory Inter-Vivos Transfers and Parental Altruism: Compatibility or Orthogonality?" Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, (January 2002) 47: 19-25.

39. D. Hamermesh, X. Meng and J. Zhang "Dress for Success -- Does Primping Pay?" Labour Economics, (July 2002) 9(3): 361-373.

40. J. Zhang and T. Li, "International Inequality and Convergence in Educational Attainment: 1960-1990," Review of Development Economics, (October 2002) 6(3): 383-392.

41. Jie Zhang, Junsen Zhang and Ronald Lee, "Rising Longevity, Education, Savings, and Growth," Journal of Development Economics, (February 2003) 70(1): 83-101.

42. J. Zhang and P.W. Liu, "Testing Becker's Prediction on Assortative Mating on Spouses' Wages," Journal of Human Resources, (Winter 2003) 38(1): 99–110.

43. W. Suen, W. Chan and J. Zhang, "Marital Transfer and Intrahousehold Allocation: A Nash-Bargaining Analysis," Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, (September 2003) 52(1): 133-146.

44. Jie Zhang and Junsen Zhang, “Long-run Effects of Unfunded Social Security with Earnings-dependent Benefits,” Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, (December 2003) 28(3): 617-641.

45. P.W. Liu, J. Zhang and S.C. Chong, “Occupational Segregation and Wage Differentials between Natives and Immigrants: Evidence from Hong Kong,” Journal of Development Economics, (February 2004) 73(1): 395-413.

46. C.M. Leung, Jie Zhang and Junsen Zhang, “An Economic Analysis of Life Expectancy by Gender with Application to the United States,” Journal of Health Economics, (July 2004) 23(4): 737-759.

47. Jie Zhang and Junsen Zhang, "How Does Social Security Affect Economic Growth? Evidence from Cross-Country Data," Journal of Population Economics, (August 2004) 17(3): 473-500.

48. Orley Ashenfelter and Junsen Zhang (as Guest Editors with an Introduction), The Chinese Labor Market: New Quantitative Studies, Pacific Economic Review, (October 2004) 9(3).

49. Jie Zhang and Junsen Zhang, "The Effect of Life Expectancy on Fertility, Saving, Schooling and Economic Growth: Theory and Evidence," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, (March) 2005, 107(1): 45-66.

50. P.W. Liu, Jie Zhang and Junsen Zhang, "Why Many Eligible Individuals Choose Not to Go on Welfare," Economic Inquiry, (April 2005) 43(2): 385-400.

51. H. Li., X. Yao, J. Zhang and L. Zhou, "Parental Childcare and Children’s Educational Attainment: Evidence from China," Applied Economics, (2005) 37: 2067-2076.

52. J. Zhang, Y. Zhao, A. Park and X. Song, "Economic Returns to Schooling in Urban China, 1988 to 2001," Journal of Comparative Economics, (December 2005) 33: 730-752.

53. D. Li, J. Zhang and Y. Zhao, "The Ownership Structure of Employment in Urban China, 1988 to 2000," China Economic Quarterly, (October 2005) 4 Supp.: 23-44.

54. Jie Zhang, Junsen Zhang and M.C.M. Leung, "Health Investment, Saving and Public Policy," Canadian Journal of Economics, (February 2006) 39(1): 68-93.

55. H. Li, L. Meng and J. Zhang. "Why Do Entrepreneurs Enter Politics? Evidence from China," Economic Inquiry, (July 2006) 44(3): 559-578.

56. H. Li, J. Zhang, L.T. Sin and Y. Zhao, "Relative Earnings of Husbands and Wives in Urban China," China Economic Review (2006) 17(4): 412-431, Elsevier.

57. H. Li. and J. Zhang. "Do High Birth Rates Hamper Economic Growth?" The Review of Economics & Statistics, (February 2007) 89(1): 110-117.

58. H. Li, P.W. Liu, J. Zhang and N. Ma. "Economic Returns to Communist Party Membership: Evidence from Urban Chinese Twins," Economic Journal, (October 2007) 117: 1504-1520.

59. H. Li, Jie Zhang and Junsen Zhang, "Effects of Longevity and Dependency Rates on Saving and Growth: Evidence from a Panel of Cross Countries," Journal of Development Economics, (September 2007) 84(1): 138-154.

60. J. Zhang, P.W. Liu and L. Yung, "The Cultural Revolution and Returns to Schooling in China: Estimates Based on Twins," Journal of Development Economics, (November 2007) 84(2), 631-639.

61. T.W. Chau, H. Li, P.W. Liu and J. Zhang, "Testing the Collective Model of Household Labor Supply: Evidence from China," China Economic Review, (2007) 18(4): 389-402.

62. Jie Zhang and Junsen Zhang, "Optimal Social Security in a Dynastic Model with Investment Externalities and Endogenous Fertility," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, (November 2007) 31(11): 3545-3567.

63. J. Zhang, J. Han, P.W. Liu and Y Zhao, "Trends in the Gender Earnings Differential in Urban China, 1988-2004," Industrial & Labor Relations Review, (January 2008) 61(2): 224-243.

64. H. Li, J. Zhang and Yi Zhu, "The Quantity-Quality Tradeoff of Children in a Developing Country: Identification Using Chinese Twins," Demography, (February 2008) 45(1): 223-243.

65. C. M. Leung and J. Zhang, "Gender Preference, Biases Sex Ratio, and Parental Investments in Single-Child Households," Review of Economics of the Household, ( June 2008) 6(2):91-110.

66. S. Zhong et al. "The Heritability of Attitude toward Economic Risk," Twin Research and Human Genetics, (February 2009) 12(1): 103-107.

67. Jie Zhang and Junsen Zhang, "Longevity, Retirement, and Capital Accumulation in a Recursive Model with an Application to Mandatory Retirement," Macroeconomic Dynamics, (June 2009) 13(3): 327-348.

68. M. Rosenzweig and J. Zhang, "Do Population Control Policies Induce More Human Capital Investment? Twins, Birthweight, and China's 'One Child' Policy," Review of Economic Studies, (July 2009) 76(3): 1149-1174.

69. C. Huang, H. Li, P.W. Liu and J. Zhang, "Why Does Spousal Education Matter for Earnings? Assortative Mating and Cross-productivity," Journal of Labor Economics, (October 2009) 27: 633-652.

70. H. Li and J. Zhang, "Testing the External Effect of Household Behavior: The Case of the Demand for Children," Journal of Human Resources, (Fall 2009) 44(4): 890-915.

71. H. Li, M. Rosenzweig and J. Zhang, "Altruism, Favoritism, and Guilt in the Allocation of Family Resources: Sophie’s Choice in Mao’s Mass Send Down Movement," Journal of Political Economy, (February 2010) 118(1): 1-38 (lead article), USA.

72. J. Han and J. Zhang, "Wages, Participation and Unemployment in the Economic Transition of Urban China," Economics of Transition, (July 2010) 18(3): 513-538.

73. J. Yi and J. Zhang, "The Effect of House Price on Fertility: Evidence from Hong Kong," Economic Inquiry, (July 2010) 48(3): 635-650.

74. D. Almond, L. Edlund, H. Li and J. Zhang, "Long-term Effects of Early-Life Development: Evidence from the 1959-1961 China Famine," 2010, Chapter 9 of The Economic Consequences of Demographic Change in East Asia, edited byTakatoshi Ito and Andrew Rose. Chicago: University of Chicago Press: 321-345.

75. D. Yang, J. Zhang and S. Zhou, "Why are Saving Rates so High in China?" 2012, Chapter 5 of Capitalizing China, edited by Joseph P. H. Fan and Randall Morck. Chicago: University of Chicago Press: 249-278.

76. Li et al. and J. Zhang, "企业家的创业与创新精神对中国经济增长的影响," 《经济研究》2009年第10期. (The top economics journal in China.)

77. H. Zhang, X. Yao and J. Zhang, "教育质量对地区劳动生产率的影响," 《经济研究》2010年第7期. (The top economics journal in China.)

78. Y. Ge, H. Li and J. Zhang, "Gender Earnings Gaps in Hong Kong: Empirical Evidence from Across the Earnings Distribution in 2006," China Economic Review, (2011) 22(1): 151-164.

79. H. Li, J. Yi and J. Zhang, "Estimating the Effect of the One-Child Policy on Sex Ratio Imbalance in China: Identification Based on the Difference-in-Differences," Demography, (2011) 48(4): 1535-1557.

80. J. Han, R. Liu and J. Zhang, “Globalization and Wage Inequality: Evidence from Urban China,” Journal of International Economics, (2012) 87(2): 288-297.

81. H. Li, P.W. Liu and J. Zhang, "Estimating Returns to Education Using Twins in Urban China," Journal of Development Economics, (2012) 97(2): 494-504.

82. H. Li, Z. Yang, X. Yao, H. Zhang and J. Zhang, “Entrepreneurship, Private Economy and Growth: Evidence from China,” China Economic Review, (2012) 23(4): 948-61.

83. L. Edlund, H. Li, J. Yi and J. Zhang, "Sex Ratios and Crime: Evidence from China," Review of Economics and Statistics, (2013) 95(5): 1520-1534.

84. M. Rosenzweig and J. Zhang, "Economic Growth, Comparative Advantage, and Gender Differences in Schooling Outcomes: Evidence from the Birthweight Differences of Chinese Twins," Journal of Development Economics, (2013) 104(C): 245-260.

85. H. Zhang, J. Behrman, S. Fan, X. Wei and J. Zhang, "Does Parental Absence Reduce Cognitive Achievements? Evidence from Rural China," Journal of Development Economics, (2014) 111: 181-195.

86. F. Yao and J. Zhang, "Efficient Kernel-based Semiparametric IV Estimation with an Application to Resolving a Puzzle on the Estimates of the Return to Schooling," Empirical Economics, (2015) 48(1): 253-281.

87. H. Zhang, H. Zhang and J. Zhang, "Demographic Age Structure and Economic Development: Evidence from Chinese Provinces," Journal of Comparative Economics, (2015) 43(1): 170-185.

88. J. Behrman, Y. Xiong and J. Zhang, "Cross-Sectional Schooling-Health Associations Misrepresented Causal Schooling Effects on Adult Health and Health-Related Behaviors: Evidence from the Chinese Adults Twins Survey," Social Science & Medicine, (2015) 127: 190-197.

89. J. Yi, J. Heckman, J. Zhang and G. Conti, "Early Health Shocks, Intrahousehold Resource Allocation, and Child Human Capital," Economic Journal, (2015) 128(588): F347-F371.

90. J. Yi, K.L. Chou, C.W. Yung and J. Zhang, “Public Housing, School Segregation, and Children’s Education: Evidence from Hong Kong,” Frontiers of Economics in China, (2015) 10(3): 414-448.

91. W. Ha, J. Yi, Y. Yuan and J. Zhang, “The Dynamic Effect of Rural-to-Urban Migration on Inequality in Source Villages: System GMM Estimates from Rural China," China Economic Review, (2016) 37: 27-39.

92. W. Ha, J. Yi and J. Zhang, “Brain Drain, Brain Gain, and Economic Growth in China,” China Economic Review, (2016) 38: 322-337.

93. J. Han, R. Liu, B. Ural Marchand and J. Zhang, “Market Structure, Imperfect Tariff Pass-Through, and Household Welfare in Urban China,” Journal of International Economics, (2016) 100: 220-232.

94. S. Zhou and J. Zhang, “Chinese Saving Rates from 1953 to 2012: Trends, Compositions and Prospects," Pacific Economic Review, (2016) 21(2): 227-252.

95. Y. Weiss, J. Yi and J. Zhang, "Cross-border Marriage Costs and Marriage Behavior: Theory and Evidence," forthcoming in International Economic Review.

96. S.H. Chew, J. Yi, J. Zhang and S. Zhong, "Risk Aversion and Son Preference: Experimental Evidence from Chinese Twin Parents," forthcoming in Management Science.

97. S. Chew, J. Yi, J. Zhang, & S. Zhong, "Education, Risk Attitudes, and Time Preferences: Experimental Evidence from Adults Twins," forthcoming in Journal of Risk and Uncertainty.


Book Publication
H. Li and J. Zhang, Human Capital Investment and Returns in China, Peking University Press, March 2008.

Awards and Honours

  • Fellow, Econometric Society (2013-Present)
  • Short-term One Thousand Talents Scheme (Zheda) (2013)
  • Ranked #357 in Top 1000 Economists in the world (based on publications 1994-1998)
  • Ranked #550 in Top 1000 Economists (based on publications 1990-2000)
  • Research Excellence Award, The Chinese University of Hong Kong (2007/2008)
  • Distinguished Alumni Award, McMaster University (2016)