Carrie Wenjing Xu grew up and attended school in Shanghai, China. Upon graduation, when thinking about what to do next, Xu saw the next steps play out in her head if she stayed in Shanghai. She did not want to continue down such a predictable path.

She chose to attend graduate school in the USA because it was different. U-M stood above all others because of the strong faculty in behavioral economics, the University’s relationship with China, and because of the positive way her friends described the city of Ann Arbor.

Xu started as a doctoral student in the School of Information (SI) and has since become the first joint doctoral student in SI and Economics. A joint degree that she initiated with support from Rackham Graduate School.

Her research interests lie in behavioral economics and labor economics. “I am interested in understanding how friends affect each other’s behaviors. For example, my job market paper conducts a large-scale field experiment to measure the influence between self-formed study partners. This research design can be further applied to workplace management, in order to leverage the spillover effects between workers to boost productivity. My work also has the potential to help identify influential people in the network to target so as to further leverage the network and potentially scale up policy impacts,” said Xu.

The profile also touches on Xu’s interest in network formations and feedback mechanism design.

To the new crop of incoming graduate students, Xu advises them to “try to be an independent researcher. Look out for yourself – don’t follow others blindly. Always plan ahead. Even just starting out, you should treat yourself like a senior grad student, have that mindset. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You will be an amazing wolverine!” Go Blue!

As for Xu, she aspires to work in academia after graduation so she can continue her research.