Professor Yu Zhu


University of Dundee School of Business, School of Business

Economic Studies, School of Business

Yu Zhu
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I joined the University of Dundee as Professor of Economics in 2014. After completing my PhD in Economics at Cambridge in 1997, I have been Research Officer at Keele University, Research Fellow at Warwick University, then Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Reader in Labour Economics at the University of Kent.

I am Research Fellow of the IZA - Institute of Labor Economics. I also have consulting experience with the UK Department for Education (DfE) and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), among others. I have been an elected council member of the Scottish Economic Society (SES) and a Visiting Professorial Fellow at UNSW Canberra, Australia.

I have been a Guest Managing Editor for the China Economic Review and am currently a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Family and Economic Issues.


My main research interests include the economics of education, labour economics, and applied microeconometrics.

I have published 30+ peer-reviewed articles in journals such as the British Educational Research Journal, China Economic Review, Economic Journal, Economica, Economic Inquiry, Economics of Education Review, Economics Letters, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Comparative Economics, Journal of Development Studies, Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Journal of Population Economics, Labour Economics, Oxford Economic Papers, Review of Income and Wealth, Scandinavian Journal of Economics and Studies in Higher Education.

My research typically involves the use of large-scale survey, census or administrative data on policy relevant economic issues in the area of education and labour economics, broadly defined.

I have been actively engaging in evidenced-based policy analyses and consultations. My 2013 Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Research Report on the impact of university degrees on the lifecycle earnings (joint with Prof Ian Walker of Lancaster University) was credited as the evidence base for the removal of the cap on student numbers by the Chancellor in the 2013 Autumn Statement. In 2020, I served as an expert on the Department for Education (DfE) GCSE Academic Advisory Panel. The resulting DfE report won the annual John Hoy Award for the best piece of economic analysis in government, with special mention of the Academic Advisory Panel as an important element in the success of the project by the judging panel.

Summary of research expertise

  • Economics of education
  • Economics of the family
  • Labour supply
  • Applied consumer economics/applied econometrics
  • Development economics (with emphasis on China)

Research themes

Health, welfare and education

Entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity

View full research profile and publications


Current teaching

BU12004 Foundations of Economic Analysis

BU12005 Foundations of Economic Analysis

BU52019 Strategic Decisions for Business

BU52024 Behavioural Insights for Managers (joint with Dr Martin Jones)

Past teaching experiences

1st-year undergraduate (English degrees): Statistics for Economics and Business

2nd-year undergraduate (English degrees): Quantitative Economics

3rd-year undergraduate (English degrees): Econometrics I - Introduction to Modern Econometrics using Stata; Econometrics II - Topics in Time-series; Public Economics - Public Finance; Gender, Children and the Family; Extended Economic Essay; Economics Dissertation

Taught Postgraduate: Personnel Economics; Econometric Methods; Development Economics

Guest Lectures on following topics (short courses)

  • Econometric Methods in Household and Consumer Economics
  • Economics of Gender, Children and the Family – A Short Course
  • Programme Evaluation in Empirical Microeconomics using Stata
  • Economics of Education in the UK