Tianyu Wang

Tianyu Wang
Renmin University of China | RUC · School of Labor and Human Resources


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Skills and Expertise


Publications (7)
Drawing on data from the 2005 China mini-census, this study aims to measure the genderedness of Chinese names and explore the determinants of gendered names and their impacts on labor market performance. The Gendered Name Index we constructed shows that male and female names have been converging over the past century, mainly attributed to the defem...
Purpose This study analyzes the causal effect of education on consumers' cognition and attitudes toward genetically modified (GM) foods. Design/methodology/approach The authors propose an analytical framework to clarify the role of education levels and education content in the formation of attitudes toward GM foods and utilize education reforms in...
The efficient allocation of household assets is important for household wealth and entrepreneurial activities. However, there is scarce evidence on how entrepreneurial activities influence household financial decisions. We use a simple model to characterize the impact of entrepreneurship on household portfolio choice and the two underlying channels...
We estimate the impact of pension enrollment on mental well-being using China's New Rural Pension Scheme (NRPS), the largest existing pension program in the world. Since its launch in 2009, more than 400 million Chinese have enrolled in the NRPS. We first describe plausible pathways through which pension may affect mental health. We then use the na...
Purpose In accordance with the traditional ranking of “scholar, farmer, artisan and merchant” in China, entrepreneurs are characterized as having lower social status, and are driven by face consciousness to engage in conspicuous consumption. Education is not only a human capital investment but also a conspicuous consumption good. This study aims t...
This paper studies the impact of human capital transfer across generations on income mobility both theoretically and empirically.•The theoretical analysis incorporates the direct and indirect transmission mechanisms into a classic OLG framework.•The empirical analysis verifies the theoretical predictions using a simultaneous equations model based o...


Cited By


Project (1)
Pension programs worldwide provide critical financial protection for older people. Social pensions are tax-financed non-contributory cash transfers paid regularly to older people. As of today, 105 countries around the globe have some form of social pension in place at a national level. However, overall pension coverage is limited in most low- and middle-income countries, where high levels of poverty and informal employment mean contributory pensions have limited reach. It remains to be achieved that everyone can access at least an adequate minimum pension in older age. Launched after 2009, China’s new social pension program NRPS, the largest and newest such program in the world with over 500 million enrollees, provides us an important opportunity to understand welfare change of older persons that may generalize and inform policy in the world contexts. I have been serving as the PI on three NIH grants and a Yale Macmillan Center faculty grant and published a set of articles. First, pension programs raise income that can be attributed to a specific person, which helps assess welfare change for older persons after their gaining control of resources. Using both primary data we collected in an impoverished region in China and representative national samples, in 2015 we were among the first to publish research findings that pension income were effective in stimulating consumption of the elderly and promoting their independent living. In 2019, we published three papers finding more healthcare utilization, declined rate of depressive symptoms, and improved cognitive health of the elderly as a result of pension benefits. Highlight Social Science & Medicine paper. Second, pension directed at the elderly could have transformative impact, not just on older people, but on the families they share their lives with. Comparing two primary data we collected from an impoverished region and a developed region in China, my collaboration with Stanford University showed that pension income increased migration rate among adult children and had modest crowd-out effect on intergenerational financial transfers from children to older parents. This is one of the most cited papers in the Journal of the Economics of Ageing. We further published these research findings in 2016 and 2017 on NRPS and intra-family dynamics. Our evidence holds important implications as both policy makers and the public are concerned about if pension roll-out as a formal old age arrangement may offset instrumental support to parents directly provided by children and family, i.e. a primary informal life‐cycle institution. Third, community support has been very important in old age in China. When a formal institution provided by the government like pension serves an overlapping purpose, it may affect informal caring relations and community networks. However, no such evidence exists before our 2019 published study to inform policy. Painstakingly collecting pension roll-out timing for each of the 2,800 counties from official documents and matching with representative national sample, we exploited geographic variation in pension program roll-out to provide the first causal evidence of social pension expansion crowding out altruistic activities (e.g., mutual help to elders in need in the community). Lastly, given the cumulative evidence on positive effects of this largest social pension program, it is puzzling why individual enrollment rate has been low, even for those readily eligible to claim pension benefits. We provide the first evidence on large-scale suboptimal enrollment in the program and offer viable explanations. Suboptimal enrollment takes various forms including failure to switch from the dominated default pension program to NRPS and evidence that families do not make mutually beneficial intra-family decisions. Our initially published evidence in 2019 on suboptimal enrollment is important as it highlights the need for policies to improve enrollment.