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Le Wang

David M. Kohl Chair and Professor
Le Wang
321-B Hutcheson Hall
250 Drillfield Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061

Dr. Wang joined the department on September 1, 2023.  

His research primarily centers on advancing our understanding of causal inference, distributional and nonparametric methods, and innovative applications of causal machine-learning techniques. Additionally, his work explores a diverse array of timely and emergent policy issues. These range from economic inequality and social mobility to educational outcomes, the impact of food stamp programs, child nutrition and health in developing nations, environmental policy, and the efficacy of food aid programs.

Dr. Wang currently serves as a co-editor of China Economic Review and Journal of Labor Research, and associate editor of Econometric Reviews. He is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Southern Economics Association, the Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Global Working Group at the University of Chicago, and IZA (Institute for Labor Study) Germany. He also serves as the director of the Young Scholars Program of the Global Labor Organization.


Applied econometrics and economic analytics; energy and public economics; food and health economics; development economics; labor economics; professional M.S. online program


  • Ph.D., Economics, Southern Methodist University, 2006
  • B. A., Intl. Finance, Jinan University, 2001


The Gender Gap Between Earnings Distributions (with E. Maasoumi), Journal of Political Economy, 2019, Vol. 127,(5)

A Nonparametric Non-classical Measurement Error Approach to Estimating Intergenerational Mobility Elasticities (with Y. An and R. Xiao), Journal of Business and Economic Statistics, 2022, 40:1, 169-185

What Can We Learn About the Racial Gap in the Presence of Sample Selection? (with E. Maasoumi), Journal of Econometrics, 2017, Vol. 199(2) Pages 117-130

Women’s Potential Earnings Distributions (with Essie Maasoumi), Advances in Econometrics, 2022, pp. 229-252

Hidden Group Patterns in Democracy Developments: Bayesian Inference for Grouped Heterogeneity (with J. Kim), Journal of Applied Econometrics, 2019, Vol 34, Issue 6, 1016-1028

The Robust Relationship Between US Food Aid and Civil Conflict (with Chi-Yang Chu and Daniel J. Henderson), Journal of Applied Econometrics, 2017, Vol 32, Issue 5, 1027-1032

Estimating Semiparametric Panel Data Models by Marginal Integration, (with J. Qian), Journal of Econometrics, 2012, Vol. 167, No. 2, page 483-493

Knot Yet: Minimum Marriage Age Law, Marriage Delay, and Earnings (C. Wang), Journal of Population Economics, 2017, Vol. 30:771-804

How Does Education Affect the Earnings Distribution in China, Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, 2013, Vol 75, Issue 3, pages 435-454

Are Politicians Office or Policy Motivated? The Case of U.S. Governors’ Environmental Policies (with P. G. Fredriksson and K. A. Mamun) Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 2011, Vol 62, Issue 2, pages 241-253

VPR and Partnerships Award for Excellence in Transdisciplinary, Convergent Research, University of Oklahoma, March 2023 (given once a year, recognizes exceptional and innovative research and creative activity contributions, the impact of which offers broad societal benefits)

Invited Plenary Session Speaker, 10th International Conference on Human Capital and Labor Markets, Beijing Dec 2018

Kuznets Prize, Global Labor Organization and Journal of Population Economics, 2018 (given to the best paper published in J Pop Econ in 2017 )

Outstanding Professor Award, University of New Hampshire, 2013 (given to one faculty member per year chosen by the graduating class in MA economics)

WSBE Outstanding Researcher Award, University of New Hampshire, 2012 (given to one faculty member of Whittemore School of Business & Economics per year)

Outstanding Professor Award, University of New Hampshire, 2011 (given to one faculty member per year chosen by the graduating class in MA economics)

Outstanding Professor Award, University of New Hampshire, 2009 (given to one faculty member per year chosen by the graduating class in MA economics)

Graduate Dean Dissertation Fellowship, SMU, 2005 – 2006 (given to one Ph.D candidate in economics per year)

Southern Economic Association Graduate Student Award, 2005

2023 Emerald Literati Awards

Winner of the Outstanding Author Contribution in the 2023 Emerald Literati Awards for his chapter, “Women's Potential Earnings Distributions,” in Advances in Econometrics. This paper is joint with Esfandiar Maasoumi.