XI YANG (杨希)


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Hello and welcome to my website!

I’m an associate professor of Economics at the University of North Texas. I have a Ph.D. in economics from Johns Hopkins University in 2014. I was a Post-doctoral Research Fellow at Lusk Center for Real Estate at the University of Southern California between 2015-2016 and a Lincoln Institute Scholar in 2019.

My research interests are in the areas of Labor Economics and Urban Economics, focusing on urban, housing, and welfare policies and their broad economic impacts such as gender and racial inequality, fertility and marriage, individual labor market outcomes, household financial well-being, and local economic growth.


Working Papers and Work in Progress

Does Rent Regulation Affect Tenant Unemployment? Evidence from New York City [SSRN Working Paper] R & R at Journal of Urban Economics
(with Hanchen Jiang and Luis Quintero)


This paper examines the impact of rent regulation on tenants' unemployment in New York City. We provide evidence that rent stabilization increases tenants' unemployment by over five percentage points using data from 2002 and 2017. To address endogeneity concerns, we employ an instrumental variable strategy that exploits the local historical availability of rent-stabilized units when tenants move in as an exogenous source of variation for occupying a rent-stabilized unit. We also develop a job-search model to explain the underlying mechanisms of rent regulation's unemployment effects. Our findings underscore the need for policymakers to consider the unintended consequences of rent regulation.

More Credit, More Babies? Bank Credit Expansion, House Prices, and Fertility [SSRN Working Paper] [NBER Slides]


This paper examines the causal effect of bank credit expansion on fertility by exploiting exogenous increases in bank credit supply induced by U.S. interstate branching deregulation between 1994 and 2005. Adopting the traditional dynamic difference-in-difference (DID) method and a newly developed staggered DID method, I find credit expansion caused by interstate branching deregulation decreases annual county-level fertility rates by 7 percent and increases the mean of maternal age by 0.37 percent, respectively. Moreover, I show the decreased and delayed fertility is mainly caused by a housing cost effect. These results reveal the critical role of financial market policies and housing affordability in explaining demographic trends.

Figure Fertility Rate

Financial Deregulation, School Finance, and Student Achievement [EdWorking Paper](with Jian Zou (Job Market Candidate 2023-204))


This paper studies how school spending impacts student achievement by exploiting the US interstate branching deregulation as state tax revenue shocks. Leveraging school finance data from universal school districts, our difference-in-differences estimation reveals that deregulation leads to an increase in per-pupil total revenue and expenditure. The rise in revenue is primarily attributed to higher state revenues, while the expenditure increase is more prominent in low-income school districts. Using restricted-use student assessments from the Nation’s Report Card, we find that deregulation results in improved student achievement, with no distributional effects evident across students’ ability, race, or free lunch status. We introduce an instrumental variables approach that accounts for dynamic treatment effects and estimate that a one-thousand-dollar increase in per-pupil spending leads to a 0.035 standard deviation improvement in student achievement.

Property Division Law and Fertility: Evidence from China [Draft coming soon]
(with Ang Sun, Emma Zang and Zitong Wang)


Marriage offers a way for couples to share the costs of investments in household public goods, such as children and household savings. By changing the commitment value of marriage, divorce laws can affect household investments in public goods. This theory, however, is rarely tested in the literature. This study fills the gap by exploring the effect of a legal change in China that altered the property division rule upon divorce, from an equal-division regime to a title-based one. We compared birth rates and household savings of affected and unaffected families before and after the legal change using a difference-in-differences design, and find that title-based property division decreased birth rates. These results are consistent with the theory that title-based property division can reduce the commitment value of marriage and subsequently reduce household investments in public goods.


Housing Wealth as Precautionary Savings: Evidence from Urban China [Working Paper] [Journal link]
(with Gary Painter and Ninghua Zhong), Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, 57(2), 761-789, 2022

Human Capital Externalities or Consumption Spillovers? The Effect of High-skill Human Capital across Low-skill Labor Markets [Journal link] [SSRN Working Paper]
(with Shimeng Liu), Homer Hoyt Institute Best Paper Award, Asian Real Estate Society
Regional Science and Urban Economics, 87, 2021

Land Use Regulations and Urban Growth of African Americans [Journal link] [SSRN Working Paper]
Economic Development Quarterly, 35(4), 338-350, 2021

Impact of Land Use Regulation Across the Conditional Distribution of Home Prices: An Application of Quantile Regression for Group Level Treatments [Journal link]
(with Tammy Leonard and Lei Zhang​)​, Annals of Regional Science, 66, 655–676, 2021

Property Tax Limits and Female Labor Supply: Evidence from the Housing Boom and Bust [Journal link] [SSRN Working Paper]
(with Shimeng Liu), Journal of Housing Economics, 50, 2020

Housing Demand and Household Saving in China: Evidence from a Housing Reform [Journal link] [SSRN Working Paper]
(with Binkai Chen and Ninghua Zhong), Journal of Housing Economics, 49, 2020

Impact of Property Tax Abatement Incentives on Economic Growth [Journal link]
(with Tammy Leonard, Lei Zhang, and Connor Reed), Economic Development Quarterly, 34(2), 209-221, 2020

The Effect of Home Ownership on Post-unemployment Wages [Journal link] [SSRN Working Paper]
Regional Science and Urban Economics (lead article), 74, 1-17, 2019

Market Facilitation by Local Government and Firm Efficiency: Evidence from China [Journal link] [SSRN Working Paper]
(with Robert Cull, Lixin Collin Xu, Li-An Zhou, and Tian Zhu), Journal of Corporate Finance, 42, 460-480, 2017

Environmental Compliance and Firm Performance: Evidence from China [Journal link] [SSRN Working Paper]
(with Yang Yao), Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 74(3), 397-424, 2012