Pang Chong


I am a research master student in Economics at the University of Hong Kong. Before starting my study at HKU, I obtained my Bachelor's degree in Public Finance from Xiamen University. 

My research interest lies in Economic History, Labour Economics and Political Economy.



Asymmetric Fertility Elasticities, with Anson Zhou and Sam Engle

Submitted to China International Conference in Macroeconomics 2024

Abstract: The last five decades witnessed a remarkable reversal where many countries around the world shifted from suppressing to maintaining or promoting childbirth. This paper utilizes historical data from this episode to provide systematic evidence suggesting that the effectiveness of pro-fertility policies is smaller than the anti-fertility ones, weighing against standard models with smooth fertility demand. To explain this fact, we develop a behavioral theory of fertility choice featuring a simple intuition: due to the trade-off between fertility and consumption, households with loss aversion over the current living standard are more reluctant to increase fertility than to reduce it upon symmetric changes in the shadow price of children. Lastly, we embed asymmetric fertility elasticities into a dynamic model where the social planner minimizes the costs associated with fertility that is either too high or too low. We show that with asymmetric elasticities, fertility levels possess positional values that should be taken into account in policy evaluations.

God Bless My Crops? The Agricultural Origin of Superstition, with Li Jianan

Abstract: Superstition serves as an important driving force in the development of human society and history. However, the origin and evolution of superstition have not been well understood. In this paper, we propose that natural conditions related to agricultural production play a significant role in the formation of superstitious beliefs. Based on Skinner's animal superstition behavior experiment and relevant discussions in psychological literature, we construct a model to explain how cross-regional differences in agricultural suitability translate into differences in the intensity of superstitious beliefs and behaviors. In our model, individuals living in agriculturally suitable areas will observe more unexpected good harvests, and they may establish incorrect causal relationships between these good harvests and supernatural beliefs, making them more superstitious. Employing a novel measure of superstition constructed from the Chinese Industrial Enterprises Database, we provide empirical evidence for the positive correlation between agricultural suitability and superstition. The reliability of our result is also supported by a cross-country empirical study that establishes a positive relationship between agricultural suitability and the intensity of ritual activities. Lastly, we use data from Qing China to demonstrate that our result is applicable to pre-industrial societies. Our findings offer a new perspective on the origin and evolution of superstition.

The Social Outcome of Negative Monetary Shock, with Chen Ting and Li Jianan

Work in progress.

Social Norm, Risk Preference and Investment Decisions, with Li Jianan and Li Xueyong

Work in progress.