I'm a job market candidate from the Department of Economics at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. My research interests are macro development, trade and spatial economics. I combine micro-level big data with machine learning technologies, reduced-form analysis tools, and quantitative models to explore various topics related to China's economic development.
I am currently on the job market (2022-2023), and I will be available for interviews. This is my most updated curriculum vitae (Dropbox link or Baidu link).
Personal Website: https://www.zhitaozhu.net or https://www.zhitaozhu.cn
On (Un)Congested Roads: A Quantitative Analysis of Infrastructure Investment Efficiency Using Truck GPS Data (with Simon Alder and Zheng (Michael) Song) [Link]
This study aims to quantify the gains from investments in a transportation network, where the elasticity of driving time to traffic ("congestion elasticity") may differ across roads. We use high-frequency GPS data from half a million Chinese trucks to measure traffic flow and to uncover the congestion elasticity heterogeneity in China's city-to-city road links. We find that one-third of the links are uncongested and that no more than 40% are associated with a large congestion elasticity comparable to the recent estimates for developed economies. In contrast, using real-time traffic data for interregional highways in England, we find that almost all roads are associated with a large congestion elasticity. We next incorporate congestion elasticity heterogeneity into a quantitative general equilibrium trade model with optimal route choices and structurally estimate the model. To calculate the returns on investment in each link, we infer the benefit from the estimated model. We find the returns to be highly unequal in China, and the heterogeneity in congestion elasticity can account for more than half of the dispersion. Numerical simulations show that dispersion is a robust indicator of misallocation and that optimized investments with a reasonable budget generate sizable welfare gains. Moreover, the optimal investment allocation turns out to be orthogonal to the actual allocation. Our findings suggest a severe misallocation of road investments in China.