Professor Zhiwu Chen is Director of the Hong Kong Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (HKIHSS), Chair Professor of Finance, and Cheng Yu-Tung Professor in Development at the University of Hong Kong (HKU). His research covers finance theory, the sociology of finance, economic history, quantitative history, emerging markets, as well as China’s economy and capital markets. Professor Chen was Professor of Finance at Yale University (1999-2017) and a Special-Term Visiting Professor at Peking University (School of Economics) and Tsinghua University (School of Social Sciences).
Professor Chen started his career by publishing research papers in top economics and finance journals on topics related to financial markets and theories of asset pricing. Around 2001, he began to expand research beyond mature markets by investigating market development and institution-building issues in the context of China’s transition process and other emerging markets. He successfully led efforts to construct historical financial and social databases from China’s historical archives and has written on economic/social history topics. In 2013, he started the annual Summer School for Quantitative History cum International Symposium on Quantitative History at Tsinghua University and continues to organize them at Peking University, with the goal of promoting quantitative historical research in China and beyond.
Professor Chen has been a member of the HKU Council since November 2018. He is on the board of directors of Noah Holdings and Bairong Inc. He also served on the International Advisory Board of the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) (2012-19), the Expert Advisory Board for the formation of the China Investment Corporation (2007), and on the board of directors as an independent non-executive director at IDG Energy Investment (2016-18) and Bank of Communications (2010-18); as an independent director at PetroChina (2011-17) and Lord Abbett China (2007-15). He was on the Board of Trustees of the Yale China Association, the 12th and 13th Five-Year Plan Advisory Commission to the Beijing Municipal Government, and the Chief Academic Advisor to two 10-episode CCTV documentary series, “Wall Street” and “Money”. He was a co-founder and partner of Zebra Capital Management from 2001 to 2011. In Burson-Marsteller’s 2012 “G20 Influencers” report, Professor Chen was listed as one of the top ten political influencers in China.
Professor Chen is a frequent contributor to media publications in China on topics of economic policy, market development, institutional reform, and historical research. His work has been widely published and regularly featured in major newspapers and magazines in the United States, Hong Kong, China and many other countries. His Chinese books include: How Is Wealth Created? (2005), Media, Law and Markets (2005), Why are the Chinese Industrious and Yet Not Rich (2008), Irrational Overconfidence (2008), The Logic of Finance (2009), 24 Wealth Lectures (2009), Assessing China’s Economic Growth of the Past 30 Years (2010), On the China Model (2010), The Logic of Finance 2: Path to Individual Freedom (2015), Introduction to Finance (2018) and Introduction to Investment (2019). He has recently published a two-volume long history book in Chinese titled Logic of Civilization, that explores a number of human innovations, including mythology or magic and supernatural beliefs, technologies, social structures, cultural norms, religions, financial markets, and the welfare state. He has received research awards including the Graham and Dodd Award (2013), the Pacesetter Research Award (1999), the Merton Miller Prize (1994), and the Chicago Board Options Exchange Competitive Research Award (1994). He has also received a number of book awards in China and Hong Kong, among which are 23 awards for The Logic of Finance in China and Hong Kong, and the best book award from hexun.com for Why are the Chinese Industrious and Yet Not Rich.
Professor Chen received his PhD in financial economics from Yale University in 1990; MS in systems engineering from Changsha Institute of Technology in 1986; and BS in computer science from Central-South University in 1983. He was Assistant Professor of Finance at University of Wisconsin – Madison (1990-95); Associate Professor of Finance at Ohio State University (1995-99); and Professor of Finance at Yale University. He has been an endowed professor since joining HKU in July 2016. In July 2019, Professor Chen was conferred the title of Chair Professor of Finance in recognition of his contribution to finance.