My research interests include political economy, gender, folklore, and early modern and modern Chinese history. My work examines the rise of women, the self-perpetuation of authoritarian regimes, and the evolution of antisocial behavior in the early modern and modern period. By tracing the impact of historical events over time and in various institutional settings, my work centers on the role of values, beliefs and norms in shaping economic and political disparities.
In studying folklore, I discovered oral traditions are a powerful measure of the historical component of contemporary values, beliefs and norms, connecting history and culture. This line of inquiry has produced a dataset of historical values across countries and ethnic groups through analyzing folklore themes.
“Folklore” (with Stelios Michalopoulos), Quarterly Journal of Economics, forthcoming.
“Friends from Afar: The Taiping Rebellion, Cultural Proximity and Primary Schooling in the Lower Yangzi, 1850-1949” (with Yu Hao), Explorations in Economic History, 63 (2017): 44-69.
“High-Value Work and the Rise of Women: The Cotton Revolution and Gender Equality in China”, 2020. Revise and Resubmit, Review of Economic Studies.
“Autocratic Rule and Social Capital: Evidence from Imperial China”, 2021
“Violence and Missing Women in China”, 2020, with Tuan-Hwee Sng and Songfa Zhong. “Raising Dragons”, 2015, with John Nye.
You can view Dr Melanie Meng Xue's CV here: Melanie Meng Xue CV [PDF]