Population Health and Demography My first line of research seeks to understand how early-life conditions affect later-life health outcomes. My work co-authored with Cameron Campbell (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology) investigates the effect of early life co-residence with paternal grandparents on mortality risks in adulthood and older age using registration data from historical China (Demography, 2018). Using the same data, my work co-authored with Hui Zheng (Ohio State University) investigates the effect of sex ratio at sexual maturity on later life mortality risks (Social Science & Medicine, 2018).
My second line of research focuses on social stratification and health. With Hui Zheng (Ohio State University), Claire Yang (UNC-Chapel Hill), and Kenneth Land (Duke University), I investigate racial disparities in cohort patterns of overall and cause-specific mortality in the United States (International Journal of Epidemiology, 2018).In a solo-authored paper, I examine the inter-cohort patterns of educational disparities in fertility levels and timing among Gen Xers in the United States (Population Studies, 2019). In a Sociological Science publication, with Nan Dirk de Graaf (Oxford University), I show that inter- and intragenerational upward mobility may not lead to greater happiness in transitional societies with dramatic economic and social changes. My recent publication in Social Indicators Researchco-authored with Anthony Bardo (University of Kentucky) examined the roles of objective social status, subjective social status, and their discrepancies for health outcomes in East Asia.
A third line of my research evaluates the impact of public policies on household members’ health outcomes. My solo-authored work is the first to investigate the short- and long-term effects of the 2011 Chinese divorce reform on married women’s and men’s well-being (PRCC Working Paper). In another study, I examine the effect of a husband’s retirement on a woman’s physical and mental health, by exploiting the legal retirement age for Chinese urban male wage earners as a natural experiment.
Modelling Trajectories and Life Transitions My work on health inequality has led to my scholarship on developing flexible and user-friendly methodologies. My work on Bayesian multistate life tables (MSLT) with Scott Lynch (Duke University) seeks to extend the method developed by Lynch and Brown (2005) by allowing for complex, high-dimensional state spaces (PAA Annual Meeting, 2018). I am also working with Justin Max on developing a Bayesian approach to estimating group-based trajectory models. We focused on the development of Bayesian estimation procedures for the group-based single trajectory and dual trajectory models with normally distributed outcomes, and draw on recent advancements on Bayesian model averaging in finite mixtures of regressions to provide an efficient variable selection method for GBTMs (SSRN Working Paper). Aside from modeling individual life trajectories, I am a member in Kenneth Land’s (Duke University) team on evaluating Age-Period-Cohort (APC) models (American Journal of Sociology, 2016). Stratification, Mobility, and Inequality in General Several of my side projects focus on social stratification, mobility, and inequality in general. My working paper co-authored with James Lee (HKUST) adds the dimension of parental industrial affiliation to the traditional focuses on social class, income, occupation, and education when examining intergenerational transmission. In another working project with Xi Song (University of Chicago) and Kenneth Land (Duke University), we focus on income dynamics over the individual’s life course and examine the association of income trajectories across generations in the U.S (PAA Annual Meeting, 2017). Along with Phil Cook (Duke University) and Poh Lin Tan (National University of Singapore), we examine whether improved academic performance leads to positive spillover effects within the family, by exploiting the North Carolina school entry law as a natural experiment.