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Heiwai Tang

Associate Professor of International Economics


Heiwai Tang is Associate Professor of International Economics at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and Research Fellow of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, the Center of Economic Studies and Ifo Institute (CESIfo) in Germany, as well as the Globalization and Economic Policy Center in the U.K. He has been a consultant to the World Bank, International Finance CorporationUnited Nations, and Asian Development Bank, and held visiting positions at Stanford UniversityMITHarvard University, the IMF, and RIETI. He is on the editorial boards of Journal of Comparative Economics and China Economic Review.

Tang received his PhD in economics from MIT. His research interests span a wide range of theoretical and empirical topics in international trade, covering topics such as how offshoring affects the domestic buyer-supplier networks; how firms learn from their neighbors to export; how China successfully moved up the global value chains; and how trade and foreign direct investment enhance firms' and thus aggregate productivity. His research has been published in leading journals in economics, including American Economic Review, Journal of International Economics, Journal of Development Economics, and Journal of Law and Economics. He has also written articles for Financial Times, Foreign Policy, the Brookings Institution, and the Peterson Institute for International Economics.


Peer-Reviewed Journal Publications:

​Why is China Investing in Africa? Evidence from the Firm Level
World Bank Economic Review, 32(3), Oct 2018, pp. 610–632 (with Wenjie Chen and David Dollar)

Domestic Value Added in Exports: Theory and Firm Evidence from China 
American Economic Review, 106(6), June 2016, pp. 1402-1436. (with Hiau Looi Kee)

​Scale, Scope, and Trade Dynamics of Export Processing Plants 
Economics Letters, 133, August 2015, pp. 68-72. (with Ana Fernandes)

Learning to Export from Neighbors
Journal of International Economics , 94(1), Sep 2014, pp. 67-84. (with Ana Fernandes)

Factor Intensity, Product Switching, and Productivity: Evidence from Chinese Exporters
Journal of International Economics, 92(2), March 2014, pp. 349–362. (with Yue Ma and Yifan Zhang)

International Politics and Import Diversification
Journal of Law and Economics, 56(4), Nov 2013, pp. 1091-1121. (with Sergei Mityakov and Kevin Tsui)

Determinants of Vertical Integration in Export Processing: Theory and Evidence from China
Journal of Development Economics, 99(2), Nov 2012, pp. 396–414. (with Ana Fernandes)

Labor Market Institutions, Firm-specific Skills, and Trade Patterns
Journal of International Economics, 87(2), July 2012, pp. 337–351.

  • slides | appendix
  • Data: click here to download the sector-level measures of firm and sector specificity of skills


Special Issues in Journals and Book Chapters:

Are Foreign Firms Favored in China? Firm-level Evidence on the Collection of Value Added Tax​
Journal of International Business Policy, June 2018, Inaugural Issue (with Yasheng Huang)​.

Trade Patterns and Dynamics of Processing Exporters: Evidence from China 
in New Development in Global Sourcing, 2018, MIT Press (with Ana Fernandes)

​The Dragon is Flying West: Micro-level Evidence of Chinese Outward Direct Investment
Asian Development Review, Annual Research Conference Volume, 31(2), Sep 2014, pp. 109-140. (with Wenjie Chen)

Exchange Rates and the Margins of Trade: Evidence from Chinese Exporters
CESIfo Economic Studies, Symposium on China's Trade Performance, 58(4), Dec 2012, pp. 671-702. (with Yifan Zhang)

​FDI Policies in China and India: Evidence from Firm Surveys ​(with Yasheng Huang)
World Economy , Special Issue: India, 35(1), 2012, pp. 91-105.

In Stasis (dormant working papers):

The Impact of New Immigration on Native Wages: A Cross-Occupation Analysis of a Small Open Economy

Spillovers from Foreign Direct Investment: The Role of Ownership

Fall 2013 



  • Asia


  • Culture and Economic Development
  • Economic Development
  • Foreign Direct Investment
  • Globalization
  • Labor Economics and Outsourcing
  • International Economics
  • Multinational Corporations


  • Chinese (Mandarin)