Xiao Yu Wang

Department of Economics
Duke University
213 Social Sciences Building
Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708
Tel: 919/660-1814

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
NBER Program Affiliations: DEV
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow
Institutional Affiliation: Duke University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

March 2019Income Changes and Intimate Partner Violence: Evidence from Unconditional Cash Transfers in Kenya
with Johannes Haushofer, Charlotte Ringdal, Jeremy P. Shapiro: w25627
In a previous study, we found an improvement in female empowerment after randomized unconditional cash transfers in Kenya (Haushofer and Shapiro 2016). Here we report detailed impacts of these transfers on physical and sexual intimate partner violence, and construct a theory to explain them. Transfers to women averaging USD 709 reduced physical and sexual violence (-0:26, -0:22 standard deviations). Transfers to men reduced physical violence (-0:18 SD). We find spillovers: physical violence towards non-recipient women in treatment villages decreased (-0:16 SD). We show theoretically that transfers to both men and women are needed to understand why violence occurs. Our theory suggests that husbands use physical violence to extract resources, but dislike it, while sexual violence is not used...
February 2016The Limits of Meritocracy: Screening Bureaucrats Under Imperfect Verifiability
with Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato, Shuang Zhang: w21963
Does bureaucratic ability predict promotion in governments? We show that self-reported performance in enforcing the One Child Policy predicts mayoral promotion in China. However, misreporting handicaps screening—a non-manipulated performance measure does not predict promotion. We show that this is consistent with a model where a government has a meritocratic objective but underestimates the imperfect verifiability of performance, rather than a model where a government is only interested in the illusion of meritocracy. Thus, despite meritocratic intentions, we challenge the notion that a successful promotion system effectively substituted for democratic institutions in explaining Chinese growth.

Published: Juan Carlos Suárez Serrato & Xiao Yu Wang & Shuang Zhang, 2019. "The limits of meritocracy: Screening bureaucrats under imperfect verifiability," Journal of Development Economics, . citation courtesy of

August 2014Risk Sorting, Portfolio Choice, and Endogenous Informal Insurance
Heterogeneously risk-averse individuals who lack access to formal insurance build and use relationships with each other to manage risk. I study the formation of these relationships. I show that the composition of equilibrium groups under pairwise matching and when group size is endogenous is determined by a trade-off in expected return and variance of return (captured by the coefficient of variation) across differentially risky productive opportunities, even when output distributions are skewed and have infinitely-many nonzero cumulants. This has important policy implications. For example, a policy which ignores the equilibrium response of informal institutions may exacerbate inequality and hurt most those it intended to help: a reduction in aggregate risk may lead to an increase in risk b...
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