I am a Ph.D. student in Economics at Duke University. I study firm behavior in response to technology improvements and government policies. I will be joining University of California, Davis, in July 2022.

Primary Field: Trade, Macroeconomics, Regional Economics

Secondary Field: Public Economics

Here is my CV.

You can contact me at xian.jiang@duke.edu.



Tax Policy and Lumpy Investment: Evidence from China VAT Reform

(with Zhao Chen, Zhikuo Liu, Juan Carlos Suarez-Serrato and Daniel Yi Xu), Accepted, Review of Economic Studies

  • A universal fact of firm-level data is that investment is lumpy: firms either replace a considerable fraction of their existing capital (spike) or do not invest at all (inaction). This paper incorporates the lumpy nature of investment into the study of how tax policy affects investment behavior. We show that tax policy can directly impact the lumpiness of investment and that the effectiveness of tax incentives in stimulating investment depends crucially on interactions with investment frictions. We illustrate these results by studying one of the largest tax incentives for investment in recent history: China's 2009 VAT reform. Using administrative tax data and a difference-in-differences design, we document that the reform increased investment by 36% and that this effect is driven by additional investment spikes. We then simulate the fiscal cost of stimulating investment through different tax policies using a dynamic investment model that is consistent with the reduced-form effects of the reform. Policies that directly reduce the likelihood of firm inaction (e.g., investment tax credits) are more effective at stimulating investment than policies that only reduce the tax cost of investment (e.g., corporate income tax cuts).

Information and Communication Technology and Firm Geographic Expansion (Job Market Paper)

Urban Economics Association Student Prize (Honorable Mention)

  • Information and communication technology (ICT) can widen firms’ geographic span of control by reducing internal communication costs. Combining comprehensive establishment-level datasets with ownership linkages, geographic locations, and ICT adoption, I document that firms with more advanced technology have both higher within-firm communication and larger geographic coverage. Exploiting natural experimental variation from the Internet privatization in the early 1990s, I show that better access to ICT helped firms expand geographically. Using a model where firms endogenously adopt ICT, choose multiple production locations, and trade domestically, I estimate that the Internet privatization increased overall efficiency by 1.1%. Compared to a trade-only model, a model with multi-unit firms predicts that efficiency gains are larger and more geographically dispersed. Policy counterfactuals show that to improve local welfare, a policy coordinated across locations that improves ICT access can be more effective than uncoordinated local policies.


  • R&D Mobility (with Rahul Gupta and William Kerr)

  • Information and Communication Technology and Firm Product Scope