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Yuan Wang

Yuan Wang

Job Market Candidate

Research topic:
Political leadership and state capacity: A comparative study of Sino-African infrastructure cooperation
Degree course:
Curriculum vitae:

Research Themes:
Public Policy States Political Economy Comparative Politics and Government  Political economy and international political economy 

Academic Profile

I am completing my DPhil in Politics at DPIR, University of Oxford. My research concerns political leadership, state cpacity, and China-Africa infrastructure cooperation. My thesis investigates why Chinese-financed and -constructed develop into starkly different trajectories in different African countries.

I hold a Master of Science (MSc) in Politics Research from Oxford, a Master of Public Policy (MPP) from Harvard Kennedy School, and a Bachelor of Law in international relations from Shanghai International Studies University. Before Oxford, I served in the China office of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and at the Sino-Africa Centre of Excellence Foundation’s (SACE Foundation) Nairobi office for a total of three years. 



Fluent in English and Chinese, conversational level in Portuguese, French, and Japanese.

Teaching specialism, interests and experience

Teaching experience: 

Seminar Leader, Evidence and Public Policy, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, 2020

Teaching Assistant, Essential Statistics for Public Policy, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, 2019

Course Assistant, Social Institutions and Economic Development, Harvard Kennedy School, 2013

Teaching interest: 

Comparative political economy of development

Comparative politics

African politics

Qualitative research methods



2018 – 2021    China Scholarship Council

2016    China Oxford Scholarship Fund

2015    China Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS-CARI) Fellowship

2013    Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government of Harvard Kennedy School, funding for thesis

2012    Harvard Kennedy School Summer Internship Fund

2010    The 11th “Challenging Cup” Academic Competition, 2nd place in Shanghai and 3rd place nationally



Wang, Y. and Y., Luo, (2015). China Business Perception Index: Survey on Chinese Companies' Perception of Doing Business in Kenya.Geneva: Globethics.net.

Peer-reviewed Articles 

Wang, Y. ‘Individual Agency in State Capacity: Comparing Sino-African Railways in Kenya and Ethiopia.’ (Accepted, Journal of Comparative Politics)

Wang, Y. and U. Wissenbach, 2019. ‘Clientelism at work? A case study of Kenyan Standard Gauge Railway project.’ Economic History of Developing Regions. Special issue on Africa and China: Emerging Patterns of Engagement.


Sun, Y. and Y. Wang, (2015)‘Learning to Collaborate: The Case Study of a Chinese-Kenyan CSR Effort.’ In Young-Chan Kim (eds). China and Africa: A New Paradigm of Global Business. Springer. 

Wissenbach, U. and Y. Wang, (2015). ‘Development Policy – alternatives, challenges and opportunities.’ In Wang, J. and W. Song, China, the European Union and International Politics of Global Governance. Palgrave Macmillan. 

Policy Papers

Wissenbach, U. and Y. Wang, (2017). ‘Local politics meets Chinese engineers – A study into the Chinese-built Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway Project in Kenya.’ Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies China-Africa Research Initiative (SAIS-CARI) working paper.

Wissenbach, U. and Y. Wang, (2017). ‘Local Politics Meets Chinese Engineers: A Study of the Chinese-Built Standard Gauge Railway Project In Kenya.’ Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies China-Africa Research Initiative (SAIS-CARI) policy brief.

Wang, Y. and S. Zadek, (2016). ‘Sustainability Impacts of Chinese Outward Direct Investment: A Review of the Literature.’ International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) working paper. 

Conference Papers and Presentations


African Studies Association; Panel: African Understandings and Agency in China-Africa Engagements. Paper: Individual Agency in State Capacity: Comparing Sino-Africa railway development in Kenya and Ethiopia. Virtual conference.

American Political Science Association; Panel: state-building in comparative perspective. Paper: Reconciling efficiency and accountability? Virtue conference.


Shanghai Conference on Africa and Asia, Harvard Center for African Studies; Panel: Infrastructure, Trade, and Industrialization. Paper: Chinese-Funded and Constructed Railway Projects in Sub-Saharan African States. Shanghai.

Oxford University China Africa Network: Between Physical and Ideological Mobility; Panel: The Politics of Transport: Realpolitik, Elite Ideologies and the Role of Infrastructure. Paper: Politicization for Development: The politics of Sino-Africa railway cooperation. Oxford.

China Africa Research Initiative Annual Conference; Panel: China, Africa, and the West. Paper: The politics of Sino-Africa infrastructure development. Washington D.C.