Zeren Li

Zeren Li

PhD Candidate in Political Science

Duke University

I am a PhD Candidate of Political Science at Duke University. My research focuses on business-state relations, bureaucracy, good governance, and authoritarian politics with a regional interest in China. Methodologically, I am interested in the “Big Data” analysis of state-business relations. For my dissertation and other research projects, I develop automated methods for collecting and matching extensive administrative data and create two original databases: the Chinese Revolving-Door Officials Database and the Chinese Public-Private Partnership Database.

My research has been funded by institutions including National Science Foundation, Google Cloud Platform, Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation, and other research grants.


  • State-Business Relations
  • Bureaucracy
  • Good Governance
  • Authoritarianism
  • Chinese Politics
  • Data Science


  • PhD in Political Science, 2021 (expected)

    Duke University

  • MPhil in Social Science, 2016

    Hong Kong University of Science & Technology

  • LLB in Political Science, 2014

    Fudan University


Chinese Revolving-Door Officials Database

The Chinese Revolving-Door Officials Database contains extensive demographic and career information of over 10,000 government officials who serve on the board of all Chinese publicly listed firms since the 2000s. The database is consist of three parts:

  • compensation information for revolving-door officials, including salary, allowance, and stock shares;
  • standardized career experience information;
  • visualization of their political network.

The database is supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Political Science at Duke University and Duke Asian Pacific Studies Institute.

Chinese Public-Private Partnership Database

The Chinese Public-Private Partnership Database provides detailed information of all Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects contracted by various levels of governments in China from 2013. The database includes:

  • contract details of public-private partnership projects
  • visualization of public-private partnership networks


Quantative Methods

  • Probability and Regression*, Lab Instructor and TA, Fall 2019. Handouts and Code

  • Quantitative Analysis in Social Science*, Lab Instructor and TA, Fall 2019, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Handouts and Code

Data Science

Political Economy

  • Prisoner’s Dilemma and Distributive Justice, Teaching Assistant, Fall 2018, Duke University.

  • Global Corruption, Teaching Assistant, Spring 2019, Duke University.

  • World of Politics, Teaching Assistant, Fall 2016, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

  • Introduction to Economics, Teaching Assistant, Spring 2015, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

* Graduate-level