Lin Shi

Lin Shi

Ph.D. Candidate in Economics and Adjunct Instructor

American University


Welcome! I am a Ph.D. candidate in economics at American University. My research fields are international trade, development economics, and the political economy of trade policy. My job market paper examines the heterogeneous impact of participating in global value chains on countries’ and industries’ export quality upgrading.

I am currently an Adjunct Instructor at American University, and I am working as an Economic Affairs Intern for Africa Section, Policy Analysis and Research Branch at the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). In Summer 2023, I worked as a Research Intern at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), African Department, Regional Studies Division (AFRRS). During the internship, I conducted empirical research with IMF economists on the impact of sub-Saharan African trade with global partners on the region’s economic complexity (work-in-progress). I have ten years of work experience, having been employed at multiple academic institutions, think tank, non-profit organization, and the due diligence industry in various capacities.

I am seeking a full-time position as an assistant professor, economist, or economic consultant. I am available for interviews for the 2023-2024 job market season. Please refer to my CV for more information, and do not hesitate to contact me at


  • Global value chain analysis
  • Structural transformation
  • Economic complexity


  • Ph.D. in Economics, May 2024 (Expected)

    American University

  • M.A. in Applied Economics, 2017

    Georgetown University

  • B.S. in Economics, 2015

    University of Washington

Working Papers

Job Market Paper: Does Participating in Global Value Chains Lead to Export Quality Upgrading?

Since the 1990s, the world has seen a wave of increasing production fragmentation. In this paper, I examine the impact of GVC participation on export quality upgrading, illustrate the heterogeneous impact among countries and sectors, and study the role of domestic factors which improve export quality. Using the two-step system GMM estimator on a panel of 61 countries and 28 ISIC industries from 1995 to 2014, I find consistent empirical evidence that increasing GVC participation has a positive and statistically significant effect on export quality. Such effect is pronounced and robust across specifications for forward GVC linkages, while that of backward GVC linkages is muted. The impact of increasing forward GVC participation on export quality is positive and significant among the upper middle-income countries, among countries which have experienced an improvement in income status within the sample period, and among the subgroup of East Asia and Pacific countries. In terms of sectoral heterogeneities, three patterns can be observed. First, the impact is predominantly driven by manufacturing sectors. Second, sectors with lower research and development (R&D) intensities experience a decrease of export quality. Third, increasing the share of sector-level differentiated products is a significant factor of export quality upgrading. Regression results highlight the impact of GDP per capita, institutional quality, investment, FDI, and human capital on export quality upgrading. The effect of GDP per capita is consistent and robust across specifications and analyses. (Paper coming soon!)

Working Paper: Understanding the Linkages Between Trade Integration and Economic Complexity in Sub-Saharan Africa (co-authored with Ivanova Reyes, Ke Wang, and Qianqian Zhang)

Working Paper: Understanding the Linkages Between Trade Integration and Economic Complexity in Sub-Saharan Africa (co-authored with Ivanova Reyes, Ke Wang, and Qianqian Zhang)

Economic complexity is defined as the capability of countries to export diversified and sophisticated products. Empirical research suggests that higher income countries tend to export more diversified and complex products; therefore, economic complexity of exported goods is seen as a proxy for economic growth. Our paper shows stylized facts of export trade patterns and economic complexity in the Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) region over the last three decades. The SSA region witnesses an increase in economic complexity between mid-1990s and late-2000s, followed by a complete reversal towards the end of 2020. Meanwhile, the region sees an upward trend in export values across product groupings during the same period, including manufacturing and agricultural goods. Utilizing panel regressions and dynamic panel data estimators with data from 28 SSA countries, we examine the role of exports and other potential determinants on the region’s economic complexity from 1995 to 2020. Our analyses distinguish the effects by product grouping and partner countries’ income level. Our regression results highlight the heterogeneous effects of export products on SSA’s economic complexity. In sum, increases in the shares of agricultural and manufacturing products in total exports are associated with a rise in economic complexity, while increases in the shares of fuels exports are associated with a decrease in economic complexity. In addition, increases in intra-region export shares are found to improve economic complexity. (Work-in-progress)

Teaching & TA Experience


SISU-300: Introduction to International Economics - Spring 2024

This introductory course in international economics utilizes basic micro- and macro-economic principles to explore an increasingly integrated world economy, where countries are connected through the exchange of goods and services, the capital flow, the migration of peoples, and data transactions.

ECON-150: Economics for Business - Fall 2022, Fall 2023

This is a combination of introductory microeconomics and macroeconomics, which aims at providing students with a basic understanding of the role and decision-making rule of individuals, firms, and the central government, as well as the interconnections among these agents.

ECON-371 (International Economics: Trade) - Spring 2022

Guest lecture: Offshoring

Teaching Assistant:

ECON-603 (Introduction to Economic Theory); ECON-601 (Macroeconomic Theory); ECON-633 (Financial Economics); ECON-440/640 (Communicating Economics); ECON-623 (Applied Econometrics I); SIS-616 (International Economics); ECON-100 (Principles of Macroeconomics); ECON-332 (Money and Banking); ECON-200 (Microeconomics); ECON-301 (Intermediate Macroeconomics); ECON-346 (Industrial Organization); ECON-400 (Intermediate Micro); ECON-371 (International Economics: Trade)