Dr Chao-yo Cheng

Dr Chao-yo Cheng

LSE Fellow

Department of Methodology

Office Hours
Please refer to Student Hub for details
Connect with me

English, Mandarin
Key Expertise
Institutions, Political Economy of Development, Ethnicity, Research Methods

About me

Dr Chao-Yo Cheng is an LSE Fellow in the Department of International Development and the Department of Methodology. He applies both qualitative and quantitative methods to address various topics in the political economy of institutions and development, such as authoritarian governance, ethnic relations,poverty, and local public goods provision. Using historical and contemporary data, he is particularly interested in unpacking the institutional and policy foundations of nation state-building and economic development in multi-ethnic societies. Much of his research focuses on China and India. Drawing from statistical analysis, elite interviews, and archival research, his PhD dissertation proposes a new political logic of ethnic local autonomy to explain how the designation of ethnic autonomous territories (EATs) shapes the governance of non-Han groups and sustains the Chinese Communist Party's rule in post-1949 China. The project also involves the use of social network analysis and machine learning techniques to construct the connectedness among Chinese political elites.

Dr Cheng has a PhD in Political Science from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Columbia University and a dual BA Degree in Journalism and Political Science from NationalChengchi University (Taipei). He has also studied mass communication, politics, and sociology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the National Universityof Ireland, Galway. Between 2012 and 2014, he was a Fulbright Fellow at UCLA. Currently, he is also affiliated with the School of Social Sciences at Tsinghua University.

At the LSE, Dr Cheng contributes to “Fundamentals of Research Design for International Development” (MY410) and “Research Design and Dissertation in International Development” (DV410), both compulsory courses for MSc students in the Department of International Development.

Research Interests

Comparative Institutions; Political Economy of Development; Race and Ethnicity; Political Elites; Authoritarianism; Energy and Environment; Mixed Methods; SocialNetwork Analysis; Causal Inference; Computational Social Sciences; China; India; Southeast Asia

Expertise Details

Institutions; Political Economy of Development; Ethnicity; Research Methods


  • Cheng, Chao-Yo, YuJung Julia Lee, Galen Murray, Yuree Noh, Johannes Urpelainen, and Joseph van Horn. 2020. “Vested Interests: Examining the Political Obstacles to Power Sector Reform in Twenty Indian States.” Energy Research & Social Science. Online First.
  • Aklin, Michaël, Chao-Yo Cheng, and Johannes Urpelainen. 2020. “Inequality in Policy Implementation: Caste and Electrification in Rural India.” Journal of Public Policy. Online First.
  • Chao-Yo Cheng, and Johannes Urpelainen. 2019. “Criminal Politicians andSocioeconomic Development: Evidence from Rural India.” Studies in Comparative International Development 54(4): 501-527.
  • Aklin, Michaël, Chao-Yo Cheng, and Johannes Urpelainen. 2018. “Social Acceptance of New Energy Technology in Developing Countries: A FramingExperiment in Rural India.” Energy Policy 113: 466-477.
  • Aklin, Michaël, Chao-Yo Cheng, Karthik Ganesan, Abhishek Jain, and Johannes Urpelainen. 2016. “Factors Affecting Household Satisfaction with Electricity Supply in Rural India.” Nature Energy 1(16170).
  • Chao-Yo Cheng, and Johannes Urpelainen. 2014. “Fuel Stacking in India: Changes in the Cooking and Lighting Mix, 1987-2010.” Energy 76(1): 306-317.