Shukang Xiao

Shukang Xiao


SS Grad Assist - Teaching PT 6

Faculty of Arts , Department of Economics

Contact information


Educational Background

Bachelor Public administration, Tongji University, 2014

Master Finance, Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, 2018


Areas of Research

Development Economics; Institutional Economics; Labor Economics


Igniting Discontent: The Effect of Higher Compensation for Expropriated Land in China, JMP, 2023

Land expropriation remains a contentious and intricate issue in China and other developing countries, amplified by rapid urbanization and economic development. The escalating demand for land for infrastructure and real estate projects has often resulted in forced eviction and inadequate compensation for farmers, leading to social unrest. This paper delves into the potential implications of higher compensation for expropriated land in China, aiming to examine its impact on igniting or mitigating discontent among affected individuals. Using exogenous shocks in land compensation across provinces, we test whether increased compensation successfully resolves conflicts. However, our study reveals a counterintuitive result. Despite the implementation of a new and higher compensation policy, we observe a surge in land-related protests. Subsequent investigation uncovers that the increased compensation exacerbates grievances, as individuals previously expropriated under the old policy express dissatisfaction and demand even higher amounts. This, in turn, fuels heightened conflict between local communities and the government.

Marx Meets Weber: The Dissolution of Communes and The Rise of Religion in China, 2021, with Pinghan Liang

Cultural traits can be shaped and maintained by economic institutions. To test this, we study the causal impact of the rural decollectivization reform after 1978 in China on the growth of religion. The difference-in-differences model exploiting the variation in the roll-out time of land reform across counties shows that the reform increases the density of religious sites. We also show that people seek informal insurance from religion, as counties with higher exposure to risk exhibit a larger increase in religious sites. In addition, kinship organizations play a substitutive role for religion in mitigating risks induced by the reform. Consistent with the secularization hypothesis, the effect of land reform on the growth of religion is mainly centered in counties with low educational levels and low incomes. This finding demonstrates that economic institutions can change cultural behaviors in the short run and that institutions and culture substitute each other in risk sharing.

Decollectivization and Child Adoption in China, 2021, with Pinghan Liang

Adoption allows orphaned children to have a good environment to grow up. However, adoption may trigger controversies, as many children are adopted through illegal channels. Why do people want to adopt children? We exploit the county-by-county rollout of land reform in rural China since 1978 to explore the causal impact of decollectivization on child adoption. The difference-in-differences estimation demonstrates that more sterile households adopted children after the reform. The result holds after taking into account the implementation of the One-child policy. Further analysis shows that decollectivization raises the value of children by increasing labor demand for old age support and for agricultural production, as well as receiving favorable redistribution of land. This indicates the importance of economic incentives in child adoption in developing countries.