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Prof. Heiwai TANG

Prof. Heiwai TANG


Associate Director, Asia Global Institute

Associate Director, Institute for China and Global Development

Associate Director, Hong Kong Institute of Economics and Business Strategy


3917 4388 / 3917 0029
KK 920 / MB 336
Academic & Professional Qualification
  • PhD: MIT
  • Bachelor: UCLA (B.S.)

Heiwai Tang is Professor of Economics, as well as Associate Director of both the Institute for China and Global Development and the Hong Kong Institute of Economics and Business Strategy at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). Prior to joining HKU, he was tenured Associate Professor of International Economics at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University. He is also affiliated with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas (U.S.), the Center of Economic Studies and Ifo Institute (CESIfo, Germany), the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (Germany) and the Globalization and Economic Policy Center (U.K.) as a research fellow. He has been a consultant to the World BankInternational Finance CorporationUnited Nations, and Asian Development Bank; and held visiting positions at the IMFStanfordMITHarvard. He is currently an associate editor of the Journal of International EconomicsJournal of Comparative Economics and China Economic Review.

Tang received his Ph.D. in economics from MIT and undergraduate degree in mathematics from UCLA. His research interests span a wide range of theoretical and empirical topics in international trade, with a specific focus on production networks, global value chains, and China. His research has been published in leading journals in economics, including American Economic Review and Journal of International Economics. His research and opinions have been covered by BBC, Financial Times, New York Times, Al Jazeera, Foreign Policy, South China Morning Post, and various think tanks such as the Brookings Institution and the Peterson Institute for International Economics.


HKU (scheduled): Undergraduate Common Core: China in the Global Economy; MBA Global Economy; EMBA China in the World; MEcon Economic Policy

Johns Hopkins: Microeconomics (master); International Trade (master)

Research Interest

International Trade, Global Value Chains, Development Economics

Selected Publications
  1. “Domestic Segment of Global Value Chains in China under State Capitalism”, Journal of Comparative Economics, 2020, forthcoming (w/ Fei Wang and Zhi Wang)
  2. “Excessive Entries and Exits in Export Markets”, Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, forthcoming. (w/ Hiro Kasahara)
  3. “Why is China Investing in Africa? Evidence from the Firm Level”, World Bank Economic Review, 32 (3), Oct 2018, 752-752. (w/ Wenjie Chen & David Dollar)
  4. “Are Foreign Firms Favored in China? Firm-level Evidence on the Collection of Value Added Tax”, Journal of International Business Policy, 1(2), Inaugural Issue, Jun 2018, pp. 71-91. (w/ Yasheng Huang)
  5. “Domestic Value Added in Exports: Theory and Firm Evidence from China”, American Economic Review, 106(6), Jun 2016, pp. 1402-1436. (w/ Hiau Looi Kee)
  6. “Scale, Scope, and Trade Dynamics of Export Processing Plants”, Economics Letters, 133, Aug 2015, pp. 68-72. (w/ Ana Fernandes)
  7. “Learning to Export from Neighbors”, Journal of International Economics, 94(1), Sep 2014, pp. 67-84. (w/ Ana Fernandes)
  8. “Factor Intensity, Product Switching, and Productivity: Evidence from Chinese Exporters”, Journal of International Economics, 92(2), Mar 2014, pp. 349-362. (w/ Yue Ma & Yifan Zhang)
  9. “International Politics and Import Diversification”, Journal of Law and Economics, 56(4), Nov 2013, pp. 1091-1121. (w/ Sergey Mityakov & Kevin Tsui)
  10. “Exchange Rates and the Margins of Exports: Evidence from Chinese Exporters”, CESIfo Economic Studies, Symposium on China's Trade Performance, 58(4), Dec 2012, pp. 671-702. (w/ Yifan Zhang)
  11. “Determinants of Vertical Integration in Export Processing: Theory and Evidence from China”, Journal of Development Economics, 99(2), Nov 2012, pp. 396–414. (w/ Ana Fernandes)
  12. “Labor Market Institutions, Firm-specific Skills, and Trade Patterns”, Journal of International Economics, 87(2), Jul 2012, pp. 337–351.
Awards and Honours
  • Committee of 100 Next Generation Leader, 2018
  • Richard Paul Richman Center for Business, Law, and Public Policy Grant, Columbia University, Co-PI, USD 14,500.
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada Insight Grant, Co-Investigator, CAD 78,736
  • Student-Elected Best Professor of the Master of International Econ and Finance Program, JHU SAIS, 2016-2017
  • Alcoa Foundation Grant, Co-PI, USD 500,000, 2016-2019
  • Hong Kong RGC Grant, Co-PI, HKD 364,378, 2017-2019
  • Outstanding Referee Journal of International Economics, 2014-2017.
  • Hong Kong RGC Grant, Co-PI, HKD 336,462, 2011-2013
  • The Nuffield Foundation Social Science Grant, SGS/36581, Co-PI, £12,000, 2009-2011
  • MIT Presidential Fellowship, 2002-2003
Service to the University/Community
  • Journal of International Economics, Associate Editor, 2019 -
  • China Economic Review, Associate Editor, 2018 -
  • Journal of Comparative Economics, Associate Editor, 2017 -
  • China Economics Summer Institute, Academic Committee Member, 2017 -
  • International Finance Corporation (IFC), Consultant, 2017 -
  • United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Consultant, 2016 - 2017
  • Asian Development Bank, Consultant, 2016 - 2017
  • IMF, Research Department, Visiting Scholar, 2015 - 2016
  • World Bank, Consultant, 2013 - 2017