Dr. Erik H. Wang

Assistant Professor
New York University (NYU)
(Email, GitHub, Twitter)

Book Projects

Selected Papers in Progress






Starting in Fall 2023, I will be an Assistant Professor in the Wilf Family Department of Politics at New York University (NYU).

In 2020, I obtained my PhD in Politics at Princeton University, where I was a graduate student fellow of the Program for Quantitative and Analytical Political Science (Q-APS) and a graduate student affiliate with the Paul and Marcia Wythes Center on Contemporary China. My advisors were Carles Boix (Chair), Rory Truex, and Kosuke Imai. In Academic Year 2020-21, I was a Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST). After that, I was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political and Social Change at the Australian National University. My alma mater is the University of Notre Dame

My research interests center on historical political economy, politics of state-building, and bureaucracy. I also do research on statistical methods of causal inference. My work has appeared or will soon appear in
American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies,
Journal of Politics, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Research and Politics, among others.

In 2022, I received the Mancur Olson Award for the Best Dissertation in Political Economy completed in the past two years given by the American Political Science Association (APSA). In 2017, my colleagues and I won the Fragile Families Challenge for the best statistical prediction of material hardship among disadvantaged children in the United States. In 2015, I won the Malcolm Jewell Award for the best graduate student paper at the Southern Political Science Association (SPSA) Annual Meeting.

Book Projects

The Political Economy of China's Imperial Examination System
(with Clair Yang )
Under Advance Contract at Cambridge University Press
Cambridge Elements in Political Economy

Frightened Leviathan: How Fighting Corruption Affects Bureaucrats in China
Book manuscript based on prior work that has received the
Mancur Olson Award for the Best Dissertation in Political Economy

Leviathan Reborn (with Xiaoming Zhang & Joy Chen)

Selected Papers in Progress

Leviathan's Offer: State-building with Elite Compensation in
Early Medieval China (with Joy Chen & Xiaoming Zhang)
• Media: Broadstreet

Social Mobility in the Tang Dynasty: The Growing Significance of Imperial Examination and Decline of Aristocratic Family Pedigree, 618-907CE
(with Fangqi Wen & Michael Hout)

How (not) to Solve the Guardianship Dilemma: Institutional Counterbalancing and the Consequences of Military Control in Medieval China
(with Joy Chen)


Matching Methods for Causal Inference with Time-series Cross-sectional Data (with Kosuke Imai & In Song Kim)
Forthcoming, American Journal of Political Science
PDF, Software

Frightened Mandarins: The Adverse Effects of Fighting Corruption on Local Bureaucracy
Forthcoming, Comparative Political Studies

Measuring the predictability of life outcomes with a scientific mass collaboration. 2020. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 17(15), 8398-8403
(List of authors)

Using LASSO to Assist Imputation and Predict Child Wellbeing. 2019. Socius: Sociological Research for a Dynamic World 5, 2378023118814623.
(with Diana Stanescu & Soichiro Yamauchi)

Pollution Lowers Support For China's Regime: Quasi-experimental Evidence from Beijing. 2018. Journal of Politics 80(1):327-331 (with Meir Alkon)

Awakening Leviathan: Effect of Democracy on State Capacity. 2018. Research and Politics 5(2), 2053168018772398 (with Yiqing Xu)
-- Awarded the 2015 Malcolm Jewell Award for the best graduate student paper presented at the SPSA annual meeting.


At Princeton, I have had a lot of joy teaching both substantive and methodological courses at various levels. I have taught courses in comparative politics and international relations to undergraduates. I have also taught the third course in my department’s quantitative methods sequence to PhD students, as well as programming language and research design to entering undergraduates via the Freshman Scholars Institute.

At the Australian National University (ANU), I taught an undergraduate Asian history class and a graduate seminar on political economy of development. You can find a summary of these courses below.

Quantitative Analysis III

PhD-level course, Princeton, NJ, Fall 2016
Preceptor for Prof. Kosuke Imai

Third course in the Politics department’s graduate quantitative methods sequence, covering discrete choice models, machine learning via EM algorithm and variational inference, models for time-series cross-sectional data, and event history analysis, all taught with both econometrics perspectives and causal inference perspectives.
(Student evaluations: 4.6/5)

International Relations

Undergraduate-level course, Princeton, NJ, Spring 2017
Preceptor for Prof. Andrew Moravcsik

This course is an introduction to the causes and nature of international conflict and cooperation. We critically examine various theories of international politics by drawing on examples drawn from international security, economic and legal affairs across different historical eras from 10,000 BC to the present. Topics include the causes of war, the pursuit of economic prosperity, the sources of international order and its breakdown, and the rise of challenges to national sovereignty, and such contemporary issues as international environmental politics, human rights promotion, global terrorism, and the future of US foreign policy.
(Student evaluations: 4.1/5)

Visualizing Data

Undergraduate-level course, Princeton, NJ, Summer 2017
Preceptor for Prof. Will Lowe

An introduction course to statistics and programming for newly admitted undergrads at Princeton, covering experimental deisgn, predictive modelling, as well as elementary techniques for analysis of network, text and spatial data.
(Student evaluations: 4.8/5)

Chinese Politics

Undergraduate-level course, Princeton, NJ, Fall 2017
Preceptor for Prof. Rory Truex

This course provides an overview of China's political system. We will begin with a brief historical overview of China's political development from 1949 to the present. The remainder of the course will examine the key challenges facing the current generation of CCP leadership, focusing on prospects for democratization and political reform. Among other topics, we will examine: factionalism and political purges; corruption; avenues for political participation; village elections; public opinion; protest movements and dissidents; co-optation of the business class; and media and internet control.
(Student evaluations: 4.5/5)

Statistical Programming Camp

PhD-level course, Princeton, NJ, Winter 2018
Course Instructor

This camp will prepare students for POL 572 and other quantitative analysis courses offered in the Politics department and elsewhere. Although participation in this camp is completely voluntary, the materials covered in this camp are a pre-requisite for POL 572. Students will learn the basics of statistical programming using R, an open-source computing environment. Using data from published journal articles, students will learn how to manipulate data, create graphs and tables, and conduct basic statistical analysis. This camp assumes knowledge of probability and statistics as covered in POL 571.
(Student evaluations: 4.2/5)

The Origins of Political Order in Asia

Undergraduate-level course, ANU, Canberra ACT, Australia, Spring 2022
Course Instructor

This course traces the historical development of Asia's diverse political systems. It examines underlying geo-political realities and their implications for political structure and focusses on the religious and political systems of thought that have shaped Asian political systems, especially regarding leadership, the family, ethnicity, social class and age. The course commences with the emergence of civilization in Asia, examines political structures as they were influenced by Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam and Christianity, the transformation of ethnic and national identities brought about in the era of western imperialism, and the assertion of new political ideals inspired by communism, liberalism, religions and reinterpretations of the past..

Political Economy of Development

PhD-level course, ANU, Canberra ACT, Australia, Spring 2022
Course Instructor

This course is designed to serve as an in-depth introduction to political economy, broadly defined. It will survey and discuss the political and institutional factors underlying cross- national and subnational variation in economic performance. The course is structured around the following issues or questions: Why do countries differ so much in their level of economic development? What is the role of political institutions in promoting economic development? How do the structures and capacities of the state affect economic performance? To what extent are countries and regions destined for a certain level of development due to their geography, culture, or history? What is the political logic of inequality and welfare state?


Kim, In Song, Adam Rauh, Erik Wang, and Kosuke Imai. ''PanelMatch: Matching Methods for Causal Inference with Time-Series Cross-Sectional Data.'' available through The Comprehensive R Archive Network.