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Dr Yan Zhang

Dr Yan Zhang

Research Associate, Centre of Development Studies, University of Cambridge

Fellow of Newnham College

BS (Hons), MPhil PhD (Cantab)


As a highly motivated economist with a strong background in economics, politics and public policy, Yan has also obtained six years’ first-hand working experience of public policy and practice in the Chinese government. The outstanding research skills gained her the extraordinary opportunity to work with the world’s leading economists, including Nobel prize winners Michael Spence, Joseph Stiglitz, and Amartya Sen on the project of Global Heritage and Economic Development initiated by the Global Heritage Fund and the Rockefeller Foundation. She was the only PhD candidate on the Editorial Committee, while others were all well-established economists. Yan’s research in the evaluation of cultural heritage attracted $30k annual contribution from CREDIT SUISSE AG for Global Heritage Fund since 2012.

Research Interests

Yan’s research interests include theory of the commons, public economics, development economics, political economics, welfare economics, public goods, common-pool resources (CPRs), energy studies, power industrial policy, hydropower, China, Southeast Asia, water control, cultural heritage, cultural economics, public policy and practice, political philosophy and social anthropology.


During many years’ stay at Cambridge, Yan has given supervisions and lectures at Newnham College. She also assisted supervisions for MPhil students at the Centre of Development Studies.


Key Publications


“Governing the Commons in China”, Routledge Studies on the Chinese Economy series, 2016, forthcoming.


Book chapter

“Heritage as Cultural Commons: Towards an Institutional Approach of Self-Governance”, E.E. Bertacchini, G. Bravo, M. Marrelll and W. Santagata, Cultural Commons: A New Perspective on the Production and Evolution of Cultures, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2012.


Peer-reviewed Journal Articles

  • “Eco-Museums Network within the Old Town of Lijiang: UNESCO ‘Lijiang Model’ for Sustainable Development”, Political Science, University of Torino-International Labour Organization, 2006.
  • “Rethinking Cultural Heritage: Valuations and Dilemmas”, University of Cambridge, Development Studies, 2010, 1-25.
  • Chang, Ha-Joon. “Institutions and economic development: theory, policy and history.” Journal of Institutional Economics 7.4 (2011): 473. Translated by Yan Zhang in Chinese, in Review of Evolutionary Economics and Economics of Innovation, 2011-01.


Book Review

“The State and the Advocate: Case Studies on Development Policy in Asia, by Teresita Cruz-del Rosario”. Journal of Southeast Asian Economies, Vol. 32, No.1 (2015), pp 183-184.


Conference Papers

  • “Institutional Approach of Self-governance on Cultural Heritage as Common Pool Resources”, Centro Studi Silvia Santagata-EBLA Workshop, Working Paper, 2010.
  • “Self-governance and Evaluation of Cultural Heritage”, 16th Association for Cultural Economics International (ACEI) International Conference, Working Paper, 2010.
  • “Heritage as Cultural Commons: A New Perspective”, 15th Annual Harvard East Asia Soceity Graduate Student Conference, Harvard University, Working Paper, 2012.


ARB Long Photo