My name is Quanfeng Zhou. I am a 4th year Ph.D. student in economics with a focus on topics related to education, labor market as well as the empirical methods used in studying those questions.
I was born in Shanghai, an economically developed city in a developing country. Both of my parents are among the well-educated people of their generation and I have benefited a lot from that. They did not have to work long hours and had time taking care of me. They were also knowledgeable enough to answer any question I had before high school. Only until later on did I realize that most other people did not have such privilege. My childhood-teenager experience planted a seed in myself. With all the help I received from my parents, going to university was not too great a challenge for me. I chose to study economics because at that time I was interested in understanding how the economy works. After I started to study economics, I realized that economics actually studies the allocation of resources and there are many aspects in life where economic knowledge could be applied, including education, health and many others. That seed grew and gradually it became clearer that I would like to study, understand and promote education for those who are not as privileged as I was. I enjoyed reading other people’s research when I was an undergraduate student, and I was encouraged both by my parents and my advisor to pursue a graduate degree in the United States.
More recently I realized another benefit of education. Over the past decade, the amount of information one could access everyday increased tremendously. This would be a good thing, if not for that there were many fake and purposefully created information to exploit people who are vulnerable. The situation could become even worse in the near future. Sometimes it takes high school physics or biology knowledge to distinguish the fake ones from the authentic ones, but people lacking the knowledge were taken advantage of. I realized that my parent’s education and my own education had protected us from many of such threats.
I recently joined CSI as a graduate student research assistant with a focus on quantitative analysis. I have been working on a project studying the change in different aspects of the labor market in the Inland Empire over the past decades. More recently, I am working on a project that compares the recovery from recessions in the Inland Empire with other regions in the U.S.