The University of Michigan Board of Regents approved Dean Yang’s promotion to full professor of public policy and economics last week. His appointment is effective September 1.
Yang, an applied development economist, has held appointments with the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and Department of Economics since 2003. He teaches courses in the economics of developing countries and microeconomics, as well as a PhD course in development economics. He also serves as the co-director of the Ford School’s International Policy Center.
Yang’s research focuses on the economic problems of developing countries, as well as financial services for the poor and international migration. Specific areas of interest include financial decision-making among the poor, technology adoption, and behavioral biases in economic decision-making. Much of Yang’s work – which has been cited widely by major news publications – uses field experiments (randomized controlled trials) to explore how changing economic incentives influence the behavior of individuals and households.
Yang is particularly well known for his work on migrant remittances, which has been widely cited. Yang’s research in microfinance and rural credit markets in Malawi also had a significant impact on bank lending to rural farmers. Previous research projects have taken him to El Salvador, Kenya, the Philippines, and Qatar.
In an interview with U-M’s Population Studies Center, Yang explained that “wrestling with some of the most difficult questions on the planet regarding how to make a dent in global poverty” is what he enjoys most about his work.