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Faculty Highlight | Professor YU Hang

As the Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development marks its fifth year of establishment, it also welcomes three new professors. The Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development exhibits one of the highest and strictest standards for selecting the teaching faculty as it symbolizes China’s commitment to international cooperation. The new additions this year not only mark the expansion of the faculty, but also commemorate the progress of the Institute of South-South Cooperation and Development and the dedication of all stakeholders.



Professor YU Hang is an Assistant Professor at ISSCAD and the National Schoold of Development, he graduated with a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Michigan. His main research fields include development economics, health and behavioral studies.  


Why did you choose to teach here at ISSCAD?

I think ISSCAD is one of a kind, in terms of its inclusiveness and cultural diversity, as well as the fact that it is one of the most interactive programs in China. This institute was established with a purpose to enhance international cooperation and to incubate talents for developing countries. The courses designed here are greatly fit to serve these purposes with focuses on development economics, politic economics and institutional studies. 

As an economist, I can't think of a more exciting opportunity or a more pragmatic platform to practice economic theories together with actual government officials from developing countries and figure out exactly what is hindering their economic development. The experience can be very intriguing and thrilling as the issues that you are trying to address are actually happening in real time, hence on the other hand, your solution to those issues might just put an end to the problem and fast-track back to positive development.


Tell us something we don't know about you?

Fun fact about me is that I actually graduated from Peking University 7 years ago. I studied Economics for my Bachelor degree here in 2013 and I had such a wonderful time back then, I felt privileged to just be a student at Peking University. After learning from world-renowned professors and having access to abundant resources, I was inspired to become an academic myself. I am grateful for this opportunity as I have deeply missed the beautiful campus at Peking University, and I want to contribute back to my Alma Mater. 


What motivates you to conduct research in the field of behavioral studies?

I have always been fascinated by people’s behaviors demonstrated in less-developed countries and less-privileged communities. I was assisting my mentor with his research project in Mozambique initially but then I ended up living there for many months over the course of 3 years doing my own research. 

During that time, I lived closely with the local communities, I shopped with the neighbors and worked with local offices, I was fascinated by their culture, lifestyle and how those aspects have had an impact on the economic development. Now one of my research purposes is to enhance the perception and understanding of HIV and other health-related issues, in the Sub-Sahara Africa area.

Could you explain your research topics in more details?

One of my current research topics is understanding the impact of social stigma in suburban Mozambique and whether it has hindered the progress of HIV testing and the treatment of the disease. During my research, I was stuttered by the high level of medical resources available for HIV testing in those communities. However, those medical resources were not taken advantage of, rather, due to various reasons, people avoided getting tested and getting treated, worrying about possible reputation damage. These behaviors are something that I really want to learn more on and how people's attitude towards an issue could have a detrimental impact on their livelihood.

This is why I believe ISSCAD would be a perfect place so that students will become acquainted with a comprehensive set of skills to look at real-time issues around the world to conduct analysis, foster development and promote change. 

Editor: Olivia LOU