Dongxiao Zhang

PhD Job Market Candidate

My research interests are in Macroeconomics and labor economics with a specific focus on household finance and impacts of intergenerational persistence on allocation of labor forces.

My job market paper studies the occupational persistence across generations and its consequences on lifetime occupational performance. The paper analyze heterogeneity of intergenerational persistence across occupations and associated determination mechanisms.

I expect to graduate in 2022 and will be available for interviews at the 4th EJM and the ASSA/AEA virtual meetings.

Research Areas: Macroeconomics, Labour Economics


The University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver Sep. 2016 – 2022 (expected)
Doctor of Philosophy in Economics

The University of British Columbia, Vancouver Sep. 2013 – May.2016
Bachelor of Arts (First Class Honor)
Double Major in Economics and Mathematics

Beijing University of Chemical Technology (BUCT), Beijing, China Sep. 2011 – Jun 2013
Transferred to University of British Columbia in September 2013
Major in International Economics and Trade


President’s Academic Excellence Initiative PhD Award 2020 – 2021
Faculty of Arts Graduate Award, UBC 2016 – 2019
Hector Gordon Munro Scholarship in Economics, UBC 2015
The Trek Excellence Scholarship, UBC 2015
Dean’s List Honor, UBC 2014 – 2015


Using both survey and administrative panel data from Germany, I document a new fact of characterizing occupational persistence across generations. Intergenerational occupational persistence is U-shaped in terms of occupational wage premia: workers in not only low but also high wage occupations have a particular larger probability of choosing their father’s occupation. I develop a quantitative model of occupational choice and information frictions of abilities with multiple channels of intergenerational transmission (comparative advantage and occupational knowledge). In the model, workers who choose their father’s occupation learn their abilities faster and exhibit lower occupational mobility over lifetime, which is consistent with patterns found in German data.


In an economy with absence of well-developed pension system, the elderly relies more on supports from family members (both financial and emotional supports). In such an economy, people’s savings and investment decisions are closely correlated with fertility rates. A decline in number of children would motivate parents to both invest a larger share of their wealth in children’s education and save more via financial tools. I use Chinese one-child policy to investigate its impacts on household saving strategies and aggregate human capital accumulation.

The household sector leverage ratio in China has considerably increased in the last decade, especially after the global financial crisis in 2008, despite an increasing trend in households saving rates. Using multiple microdata sources from China, I first document the age-saving profile changed from the U-shaped profile in 2002 to one where the saving rate increases in the age in 2013 and leverage ratios of young households skyrocketed over this period. Then, through a OLG model, I show that the interaction between household credit constraints and house price dynamics can account for much of the changes in saving and borrowing behaviors of Chinese households over this period.

Teaching Assistant
ECON 390 – Introduction to Economic Research (Undergraduate) 2018 - 2021