Yue (Charles) Yuan

Yue Charles Yuan

I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago. I will be attending the ASSA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia on January 5-7, 2018.

Email: [email protected]

CV - Charles Yuan


Macroeconomics, Growth and Development, Urban Economics, Economic Geography


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

Job Market Paper

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

I investigate the determinants and mechanisms of regional growth using a policy experiment in China. From the late 1960s to the 1970s, the Down to the Countryside Movement resettled millions of urban youth. I find that human capital shocks only had positive effects on regional population growth in the short run, and had negligible effects on productivity growth. Heterogeneous effects across regions and the separation of human and physical capital rationalize the phenomenon. My results suggest that location fundamentals matter, and that human capital alone, without complementary inputs, is not able to induce persistent regional growth. In addition, I find that structural transformation, local agglomeration, and skill structure improvements are driving forces of regional growth.

Published and Working Papers

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.

Optimal Beliefs in the Long Run: An Overlapping Generations Perspective
Economics Letters, 2012, 117(2): 525-527
[Older WP]

People have the natural tendency to be optimistic and believe that good outcomes in the future are more likely, but also want to avoid overestimation that could result in bad decision-making. Brunnermeier and Parker (2005) and Brunnermeier et al. (2007) established an optimal beliefs framework that balances these two incentives. This paper follows and extends the optimal beliefs framework to consider optimal beliefs in the long run in an overlapping generations sense. Assuming no short-selling, results show that, in almost all cases, there does not exist a stable and interior long-term optimal belief.

Internal Skill Resettlement, Structural Change, and Welfare
Work in progress

List of articles in Chinese: [PDF].


Ad-hoc referee for Journal of Political Economy.