NBER Working Papers by Wei Huang

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Working Papers

September 2016Economic Conditions and Mortality: Evidence from 200 Years of Data
with David M. Cutler, Adriana Lleras-Muney: w22690
Using data covering over 100 birth-cohorts in 32 countries, we examine the short- and long-term effects of economic conditions on mortality. We find that small, but not large, booms increase contemporary mortality. Yet booms from birth to age 25, particularly those during adolescence, lower adult mortality. A simple model can rationalize these findings if economic conditions differentially affect the level and trajectory of both good and bad inputs into health. Indeed, air pollution and alcohol consumption increase in booms. In contrast, booms in adolescence raise adult incomes and improve social relations and mental health, suggesting these mechanisms dominate in the long run.
April 2015China's “Great Leap Forward” in Science and Engineering
with Richard B. Freeman: w21081
In the past two decades China leaped from bit player in global science and engineering (S&E) to become the world's largest source of S&E graduates and the second largest spender on R&D and second largest producer of scientific papers. As a latecomer to modern science and engineering, China trailed the US and other advanced countries in the quality of its universities and research but was improving both through the mid-2010s. This paper presents evidence that China's leap benefited greatly from the country's positive response to global opportunities to educate many of its best and brightest overseas and from the deep educational and research links it developed with the US. The findings suggest that global mobility of people and ideas allowed China to reach the scientific and technological f...
May 2014When Does Education Matter? The Protective Effect of Education for Cohorts Graduating in Bad Times
with David Cutler, Adriana Lleras-Muney: w20156
Using Eurobarometer data, we document large variation across European countries in education gradients in income, self-reported health, life satisfaction, obesity, smoking and drinking. While this variation has been documented previously, the reasons why the effect of education on income, health and health behaviors varies is not well understood. We build on previous literature documenting that cohorts graduating in bad times have lower wages and poorer health for many years after graduation, compared to those graduating in good times. We investigate whether more educated individuals suffer smaller income and health losses as a result of poor labor market conditions upon labor market entry. We confirm that a higher unemployment rate at graduation is associated with lower income, lower life...

Published: Cutler, David M. & Huang, Wei & Lleras-Muney, Adriana, 2015. "When does education matter? The protective effect of education for cohorts graduating in bad times," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 63-73. citation courtesy of

February 2014Collaborating With People Like Me: Ethnic co-authorship within the US
with Richard B. Freeman: w19905
This study examines the ethnic identity of authors in over 2.5 million scientific papers written by US-based authors from 1985 to 2008, a period in which the frequency of English and European names among authors fell relative to the frequency of names from China and other developing countries. We find that persons of similar ethnicity co-author together more frequently than predicted by their proportion among authors. Using a measure of homophily for individual papers, we find that greater homophily is associated with publication in lower impact journals and with fewer citations, even holding fixed the authors' previous publishing performance. By contrast, papers with authors in more locations and with longer reference lists get published in higher impact journals and receive more citation...

Published: Collaborating with People Like Me: Ethnic Coauthorship within the United States, Richard B. Freeman, Wei Huang. in US High-Skilled Immigration in the Global Economy, Turner and Kerr. 2015

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