Launch Ceremony of the Center for Applied Social and Economic Research at NYU Shanghai


We are delighted to announce the Launch Ceremony of the Center for Applied Social and Economic Research at NYU Shanghai. CASER is dedicated to fostering methodologically rigorous, multi-disciplinary research on the most pressing issues related to China’s socioeconomic development. During the ceremony, the inaugural center project will also be unveiled. Please join us in celebrating the launch of CASER at NYU Shanghai!


7:45-7:50 pm Opening Remarks by Provost Joanna Waley-Cohen
Remarks and Center Introduction by Director Xiaogang Wu
7:50-8:00 pm Plate Unveiling Ceremony
8:00-8:45 pm Introducing CASER’s inaugural project by Professor Michael Hout, NYU
“Social Life Under Covid-19 in the United States: Infection, Isolation, and Economic Problems”
8:45-9:15 pm Panel Discussion
9:15-9:30 pm Q & A Session


As the United States endured a third wave of Covid-19 infections in October 2020, we surveyed a representative sample of American households (N = 4,407) about their experiences with the pandemic and its consequences. At least one person was infected in 5.4% of households, 20% had an infected member of the extended family, and 40% knew an infected person. Most infections were relatively mild, but 9% of Americans knew someone who was hospitalized. The presentation will present data for major demographic and socioeconomic groups. Shutdowns affected 87% of Americans. Half the adults felt that the shutdowns were absolutely or  very necessary, but many had reservations and 11% thought the shutdown in their community was  not necessary at all. While 60% said they always wore a mask in public, 6% said they never did. Assessments of the shutdown and compliance with rules were politically slanted. Emotional reactions varied, but one-third felt isolated or worried. Most American families experienced some disruption not related to their health as well. Many lost their jobs, about 11% worked at a place that closed, and one-third of households had at least one person working from home and one-fourth had a school-age child home from school (60% of school-age children were home). These disruptions differed sharply by race, class, and region of the country. 

Speaker and Panelists

Speaker: Michael Hout | Professor of Sociology, Director of Center for Advanced Social Science Research, NYU

Michael Hout is Professor of Sociology and Director of Center for Advanced Social Science Research at New York University. Professor Hout’s research uses demographic methods to study social change in inequality, religion, and politics in developed and developing countries. For much of his career, he was involved with the General Social Survey (GSS), a long-running NSF project.  His recent work on change includes “Immigration, Race, and Polarization” in Daedalus in 2020 and “Americans’ occupational status reflects the status of both of their parents” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in 2016. Professor Hout’s honors include an honorary degree from University College, Dublin, election to the American Philosophical Society in 2006, National Academy of Sciences in 2003, and American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 1997. Professor Hout’s education includes a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh in history and sociology (1972) and masters (1973) and doctorate (1976) from Indiana University in sociology. In national service, he currently chairs the Board of Advisors of the Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

Panelist: Brian J. Hall | Associate Professor of Global Public Health, NYU Shanghai

Brian J. Hall, PhD is an Associate Professor of Global Public Health at New York University Shanghai and Global Network Associate Professor of Global Public Health, New York University School of Global Public Health. Since 2014, Hall has been an associate faculty member in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHBSPH).    Prof. Hall’s research is broadly focused on the application of interdisciplinary approaches to address diverse population health challenges. Hall has co-authored more than 200 articles on various global health areas including migration and health, psychiatric epidemiology, disasters and trauma, sexual and reproductive health, and the use of social media and technology to address health challenges.  In 2017 Hall was the inaugural Global Mental Health Fellow of the World Health Organization, and in 2019 he was elected as a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. That same year Hall was the recipient of a Presidential Fellowship for Foreign Talents from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. Hall’s dedication to global health mentoring was recognized by a Faculty Excellence in Advising Award, Center for Global Health, at the JHBSPH, also in 2019. Hall currently serves as a Commissioner on The Lancet

Panelist: Xizhe Peng | Professor of Population and Development; Director, Institute of Population and development policy studies, Fudan University

Peng is currently a Professor of Population and Development at Fudan University and is the director of Institute of Population and development policy studies. Dr. Peng received his Msc. and Ph.D. degrees in Population Studies from London School of Economics and Political Sciences in 1983 and 1988 respectively. His research activities covered a wide range of population-related issues, including population dynamics and policy in China, social development and social policy, aging and gender studies etc. He served as advisor to various Chinese government agencies, and is a leading member of academic Associations of in the fields of population and development.  He is the author (or editor) for more than 18 books and 150 journal articles including “China’s Demographic History and Future Challenges” published in Science 333, 581 -587 (2011).

Panelist: Xiaogang Wu | Director, Center for Applied Social and Economic Research; Yufeng Global Professor of Social Science, NYU Shanghai; Professor of Sociology, New York University

Xiaogang Wu is Yufeng (御风) Global Professor of Social Science, and the Director of Center for Applied Social and Economic Research (CASER) at NYU Shanghai, and Professor of Sociology at New York University. Wu joined NYU Shanghai from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), where he was Chair Professor of Social Science and Public Policy. From 2020 to 2024, he also holds a visiting appointment as a Global Scholar at Princeton University. Prof. Wu is a leading scholar in research on Chinese inequality and social stratification. He received BA from Renmin University of China, MA from Peking University, and PhD in sociology from University of California, Los Angeles. Wu was the recipient of the US National Academy of Education/Spencer Post-doctoral Research Fellowship (2006-2007), the Asia and Asian American Early Career Award from the American Sociological Association (2007), and the Prestigious Fellowship in Humanities and Social Sciences by the University Grants Committee of Hong Kong (2012). Prof. Wu has been a member of the consolidate grant evaluation panel (social science) for the European Research Council (ERC) (2017-2019), and currently serves as the President of International Chinese Sociological Association, the Chief Editor of the Chinese Sociological Review.

Panelist: Yu Xie | Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor of Sociology, the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, Princeton University

Yu Xie is Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor of Sociology and has a faculty appointment at the Princeton Institute of International and Regional Studies, Princeton University. He is also a Visiting Chair Professor of the Center for Social Research, Peking University. His main areas of interest are social stratification, demography, statistical methods, Chinese studies, and sociology of science. His recently published works include: Marriage and Cohabitation (University of Chicago Press 2007) with Arland Thornton and William Axinn, Statistical Methods for Categorical Data Analysis with Daniel Powers (Emerald 2008, second edition), and Is American Science in Decline? (Harvard University Press, 2012) with Alexandra Killewald. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Academia Sinica and the National Academy of Sciences. His appointment is part of a University initiative to deepen the regional studies curriculum in the social sciences. The Center on Contemporary China is part of PIIRS, and Xie’s appointment marks the first joint faculty appointment by PIIRS and a department in the social sciences.

Panelist:  Qingwen Xu | Coordinator of the Global MSW Program at NYU Shanghai; Affiliated Professor, NYU Shanghai; Professor of Social Work, NYU

Qingwen Xu is Coordinator of the Global MSW Program at NYU Shanghai, Affiliated Professor, NYU Shanghai; Professor of Social Work, NYU. She holds a PhD from University of Denver and LLMs from New York University and Peking University. Professor Xu’s research is situated at the interaction of globalization, community development, and social welfare. Her work has appeared in International Journal of Aging and Human Development, Social Work Research, The Gerontologist, Journal of Community Psychology, International Social Work and other professional and/or interdisciplinary journals. Professor Xu is member of Council of Social Work Education (CSWE) and Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR). She formerly served as the President of Asian Pacific Islander Social Work Educator Association, and Commissioner of CSWE Commission for Diversity and Social and Economic Justice.

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