C. Simon Fan received his Ph.D. from Brown University in 1994. He has contributed theoretical and empirical research on various issues of social economics, labor/population economics, development economics, and political/institutional economics. In 2014, he published a thought-provoking book, "Vanity Economics: An Economic Exploration of Sex, Marriage and Family". It analyzes the role of 'vanity', defined as social status and self-esteem, in social and economic behaviors. In Veblen's theory of conspicuous consumption, vanity is associated with the consumption of luxuries such as expensive handbags and cars. In this book, he argues that vanity is obtained by having a spouse and children with perceived 'high-quality' values. This book demonstrates from numerous perspectives that vanity plays a crucial role in male-female relationships and intergenerational relationships, which challenges the conventional frontier of economics and contributes to other social sciences. (A synopsis of the book is here.) Currently, he extends this approach to study nationalism in historical and contemporary China by regarding national pride as a collective social status. Also, he has been collaborating with others in conducting experimental research on the effects of school inputs, peer interactions and family background on student outcomes in rural China.
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C. Simon Fan
BSc, MSc (Xiamen); MA, PhD (Brown)
Department of Economics, Lingnan University
Professor FAN, Cheng-ze Simon