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Xian Huang is a post-doctoral research scholar at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Study of Contemporary China. Her research interests include political economy of development, politics of inequality and redistribution, social welfare and policy, authoritarian and Chinese politics. Her dissertation, through a detailed study of the Chinese social health insurance system between the years of 1998 and 2010, examines how the Chinese authoritarian state maintains particularly privileged welfare provisions for the elites while establishing and preserving a broad and modest social welfare provision for the masses to maximize the prospects of political survival and stability. Her dissertation research has been supported by The Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation, The Tokyo Foundation, Columbia University’s Weatherhead East Asian Institute and Center for International Business Education.

Xian’s research papers have appeared in several peer-reviewed journals such as The China Quarterly, Journal of Contemporary China, and Journal of Chinese Political Science. The book manuscript based on her dissertation uncovers the political incentives, institutional design, distributive patterns and outcomes of social welfare expansion in authoritarian regimes. Her other research projects focus on urbanization, decentralization and re-centralization of social welfare provision, and the connections between welfare preferences, welfare participation and regime support in China.

Xian received a PhD of Political Science from Columbia University in October 2014. During the graduate study at Columbia, she majored in comparative politics and minored in international relations. She holds BA degrees in politics and economics, and a MA degree in political economy from Peking University (Beijing, China). During her study at Peking University, she worked as a part-time research assistant at the Research Center for Contemporary China.