Yue Charles Yuan

I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago. I will be available for interviews at the ASSA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia in January 2018.

I am an applied economist with research interests in Growth and Development, Urban Economics, Economic Geography, and Applied Macroeconomics. My research centers on studying the spatial distributions of economic activities and their policy implications.

In my job market paper, I investigate the mechanics of regional growth through examining one of the largest skill resettlement programs in history, the Down to the Countryside Movement in China.

CV - Yue Charles Yuan

Email: [email protected]


Jonathan Dingel, Robert E. Lucas Jr., Veronica Guerrieri, Steven J. Davis


Optimal Beliefs in the Long Run: An Overlapping Generations Perspective, Economics Letters, 2012, 117(2), p.525-527.

Working Papers

The Mechanics of Regional Growth: Evidence from a Large-Scale Skill Resettlement Program (Job Market Paper)
Presented at: Chicago, UEA Vancouver, AMES CUHK, ESEM Lisbon, Midwest Macro LSU, WEAI San Diego.

I study the mechanics of regional growth through the lens of China's Down to the Countryside Movement. China compulsorily relocated millions of educated youth from urban to rural areas during the late 1960s and 1970s. About two million sent-down youth permanently settled in those rural areas. I find that an exogenous increase in the high-skilled population resulted in faster regional population and productivity growth in regions that experienced a positive human capital shock. On the other hand, in regions that experienced a negative human capital shock, an exogenous decrease in the high-skilled population resulted in slower regional population growth, but surprisingly, faster productivity growth, a phenomenon which can be explained by the increased concentration of physical capital investments in large urban areas. This last result highlights the importance of the complementarity between human and physical capital in sustaining long-term regional growth. I provide evidence that the growth effects worked through the arrival of more migrants, an increase in educational attainment, and shifts in the employment structure towards skill-intensive sectors.

On the Price Spread of Benchmark Crude Oils: A Spatial Price Equilibrium Model
(with Max S. Bennett), March 2017

Benchmark crude oils that are almost identical in physical composition exhibited dramatic divergence in prices in the recent decade, a phenomenon that rarely occurred in earlier decades. This paper develops a rational expectations two-period model of spatial price equilibrium, and departs from standard models by assuming an increasing marginal cost curve of transportation. We econometrically validate our model using a dataset that covers an extended time period. We demonstrate that this simple two-period model is sufficient to characterize key observed behaviors of the crude oil markets. The model allows us to determine the underlying causes of the unique phenomenon of the widening and subsequent narrowing of crude oil price spreads over the past decade. We find that the widening of the Brent-WTI spread from 2011 to 2013 was due to a positive supply shock in the Midwest that was constrained by insufficient transportation infrastructure, and that its subsequent narrowing from 2013 was primarily due to a structural decrease in the marginal cost of transportation out of Midwest to the rest of the U.S.

Work in Progress

Creating a Land of Opportunity? The Aggregate and Distributional Effects of Local Human Capital Shocks
Work in progress

Human capital shocks may have persistent effects on local economic outcomes. This provides potential opportunities for place-based policies to generate self-sustaining long-run gains. I build a dynamic spatial equilibrium model that captures the impact and propagation of local human capital shocks. Local human capital shocks directly alter the skill compositions in affected regions. A counterfactual analysis based on the model, therefore, is able to characterize post-shock transitional dynamics of the economy. I calibrate the model’s parameters using data from several historical episodes. Then, I run simulations for the United States to evaluate the aggregate and distributional effects of local human capital shocks.


Ad-hoc referee for Journal of Political Economy.