Huali Wu

PhD Candidate in Economics
ESSEC Business School


I am a PhD Candidate in Economics at ESSEC Business School, France.

I am on the 2022-2023 job market.

My research interests include: Gender inequality, Institution and Culture, Development, Environment, China.

Understanding the determinants behind gender inequality is my motivation to do research. I am especially curious about the fundamental determinants of gender inequality in terms of culture and institution.

Currently, I am studying marriage as an institutional determinant of gender role attitudes. I am also working on soil endowment as another fundamental factor to study the political female leadership and sustainable development. Besides, with Estefania Santacreu-Vasut, we are studying how gender norms influence math gender gap.

In a globalised world, international markets result in gendered consequences in the firms and then in the families. I am also exploring how the international finance markets affect gendered welfare in the family.

To contact me:

Research - Work in progress.

  • Does marriage shape gender role attitudes? Evidence from a schooling reform in China (Job Market Paper)


    This paper studies the dynamic interplay between marriage as a formal institution and gender roles as an informal institution. I find that marriage hammers out conservative gender role attitudes for women but not for men. Identifying the causality is challenging, because conservative gender role attitudes affect the decision to marry early. To address this reverse causality concern, I employ the Compulsory Schooling Law in 1986 in China as an instrumental variable, which provides exogenous variation in the decision of marriage for both men and women. By exploring heterogeneous variation in the schooling channel on marriage, I identify the causal relationship between exposure to marriage and gender role attitudes. I further examine the effects of years of schooling on non-gender-related attitudes such as trust and misanthropy for married women, and on gender attitudes for single women, ruling out the direct nurturing effect of schooling on attitudes. Studying the causal mechanisms at play, I find that both horizontal and oblique social learning and self-deception are behind the evolving pattern of gender role attitudes for men and women. These two mechanisms respond to the long-lasting challenge of endogeneity of gender norms to welfare economics.

  • At the intersection of ableism and sexism: conceptual and empirical applications with Estefania Santacreu-Vasut, 2022
  • Happiness and liberty: the cost of thinking differently with the majority, 2021-2022
  • Soil endowments, political female leadership, and sustainable development, 2022


  • Lecturer of Growth and Development, ESSEC Business School, MSc. Spring 2022, Spring 2023

  • Lecturer of Environmental Economics, ESSEC Business School, BBA (Spring 2023)

  • TA of Growth and Developmenet, professor Estefania Santacreu-Vasut, 2020-2021