Jin Li
Prof. Jin LI
Management and Strategy
Area Head of Management and Strategy

3917 0056

KK 936

Academic & Professional Qualification

  • PhD: MIT
  • Bachelor: Caltech (B.S) and Wesleyan University (B.A.)


Jin Li is a professor of management and strategy, with joint appointment in economics at Hong Kong University. Prior to HKU, he has taught at Kellogg School of Management and London School of Economics, where he was a tenured associate professor of managerial economics and strategy. During his tenure at LSE, Professor Li won the Management Department teaching prize.

Professor Li’s main research area lies at the intersection of organizational economics, personnel economics, and labor economics. It focuses on the dynamics of informal relationships and explores how firms can design organizations to align incentives and build trust. This research sheds light on how organizational design can be a source of competitive advantage. Recently, Professor Li has studied topics on the digital economy including causality issues in machine learning algorithms and governance of blockchain.

Professor Li has published in leading academic journals such as the American Economic Review, the Review of Economic Studies, AEJ- Microeconomics, Journal of Economic Theory, Journal of Labor Economics, and the RAND Journal of Economics. His works have also been featured in media outlets such as the BBC, the Economist, and Quartz, and he has written for Harvard Business Review, Caixin, and FTChinese.

Professor Li earned his BA in economics and math (with high honors) from Wesleyan University, a BSc in applied math (with honors) from Caltech, and PhD in Economics from MIT.


  • Personnel Strategy for MBAs (Kellogg)
  • Strategy and Organization for MBAs (Kellogg)
  • Economics of Organization for PhDs (Kellogg)
  • Incentives and Governance in Organizations for Masters (LSE)
  • Capstone Project for MBAs (HKU)

Research Interest

  • Organizational Economics
  • Personnel Economics
  • Labor Economics

Selected Publications

  • “Tacit Collusion in Auctions and Conditions for Its Facilitation and Prevention: Equilibrium Selection in Laboratory Experimental Markets,” (with Charles Plott), Economic Inquiry, Vol 47, No.3, (July 2009) pp. 425-448.
  • “Job Mobility, Wage Dispersion, and Technological Change: An Asymmetric Information Perspective,” European Economic Review Vol 60, (May, 2013) pp. 105-126.
  • “Managing Conflicts in Relational Contracts,”
    (with Niko Matouschek), American Economic Review, Vol 103, No.6 (October, 2013) pp. 2328-51.
  • “Relational Contracts with Subjective Peer Evaluations”
    (with Joyee Deb and Arijit Mukherjee), Rand Journal of Economics, Vol 47, No. 1 (Spring, 2016) pp. 3-28 (Lead Article).
  • “When Does Aftermarket Monopolization Soften Foremarket Competition?”
    (with Yuk-Fai Fong and Ke Liu), Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Vol 25, No.4 (Winter, 2016) pp. 852-879.
  • “Information Revelation in Relational Contracts”
    (with Yuk-Fai Fong), Review of Economic Studies, Vol 84 No. 1 (Jan 2017) pp. 277-299.
  • “A Theory of Turnover and Wage Dynamics,”
    (with Jun Yu), Economic Inquiry, Vol 55, No. 1 (Jan, 2017) pp. 223-236.
  • “Power Dynamics in Organizations,”
    (with Niko Matouschek and Mike Powell), AEJ Micro, Vol 9, No. 1 (Feb, 2017) pp. 217-241.
  • “Relational Contracts, Limited Liability, and Employment Dynamics”
    (with Yuk-Fai Fong), Journal of Economic Theory, Vol 169 (May, 2017), pp. 270-293.
  • “Managing Careers in Organizations”
    (with Rongzhu Ke and Mike Powell), Journal of Labor Economics, Vol 36, No. 1 (Jan, 2018) pp. 197-252.
  • “Multilateral Interactions Improve Cooperation under Random Fluctuations”
    (with Michael Powell), Games and Economic Behavior, Vol 119 (Jan, 2020) pp. 358-382
  • “Negotiated Block Trade and Rebuilding of Trust”
    (with Pak Hung Au and Yuk‐Fai Fong), International Economic Review, Vol 61, No. 2 (May, 2020) pp. 901-939.
  • “Learning to Game the System”
    (with Arijit Mukherjee and Luis Vasconcelos), Review of Economic Studies, forthcoming.

Service to the University/Community

Professor Li has acted as a reviewer for 30 journals, including AER, Econometrica, JPE, QJE, and ReStud. He has also reviewed grant proposals for the National Science Foundation of the U.S. (NSF) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). Professor Li served as an external PhD examiner for the Norwegian School of Economics.

Recent Publications

Everyone can win in business – or can they?

‘Workers against bosses’ is a common theme, but mutual interest is more important in creating value, according to HKU Business School professors.

Hong Kong’s second curve

年屆88歲的查爾斯.漢迪(Charles Handy)是英國管理學大師,其著作《理解組織》(Understanding Organizations)更是組織研究的經典。近幾年,漢迪在中國內地聲望日隆,原因是他的一本小書《第二曲線》(The Second Curve)。

Negotiated Block Trade and Rebuilding of Trust

We investigate the impact of corporate governance on customers' trust using a dynamic model of experience‐goods firm. In the optimal equilibrium, customers' trust in the firm is linked to its behavior in the market for corporate control, so that the controlling shareholder has incentives to ensure high product quality while noncontrolling shareholders' interests are protected. Following a trust‐damaging event, turnover of the controlling share block restores customers' trust and enhances total shareholder value. Our analysis identifies an endogenous cost of corporate control, offers implications for the control premium, and provides a novel rationale for the separation of ownership and control.

Organisations’ dilemma amidst the spread of epidemics

管理學大師克里斯滕森(Clayton Christensen)今年1月不幸去世,他生前憑其所提出的「顛覆性創新」理論(Theory of Disruptive Innovation)聞名於世。2011年,其著作《創新者的窘境》(The Innovator's Dilemma)更被《經濟學人》(The Economist)評為史上六大商業名著之一;書中提出了一個極其重要的問題:成功高效的企業,往往不擅長自我革新,與時俱進。這些企業也許很早就知道了競爭者的新技術,但最初並不重視。新技術不成熟,吸引的顧客也有限。可問題是,當企業醒覺時,卻往往為時已晚。

Multilateral Interactions Improve Cooperation under Random Fluctuations

In an environment subject to random fluctuations, when does an increase in the breadth of activities in which individuals interact together help foster collaboration on each activity? We show that when players, on average, prefer to stick to a cooperative agreement rather than reneging by taking their privately optimal action, then such an agreement can be approximated as equilibrium play in a sufficiently broad relationship. This is in contrast to existing results showing that a cooperative agreement can be sustained only if players prefer to adhere to it in every state of the world. We consider applications to favor exchange, multimarket contact, and relational contracts.