Alice Tianbo Zhang Assistant Professor of Economics

Alice Tianbo Zhang

Huntley 304
Website - Curriculum Vitae

Alice is an Assistant Professor of Economics and an Affiliate Faculty of Environmental Studies. Prior to joining W&L, she was a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Princeton University. Her transcontinental education journey first brought her from Beijing, China to the University of California, Berkeley, where she graduated with Bachelor of Arts degrees with Distinction in Economics, Statistics, and a minor in Public Policy. While attending Berkeley, she worked for the City of Berkeley on implementing the Berkeley Climate Action Plan. She then obtained a Ph.D. in Sustainable Development from Columbia University in 2019. At Columbia, she worked for the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy, the Center on Global Energy Policy, and the Earth Institute.

As an environmental and energy economist, she combines economics, climate science, and data science to tackle climate and energy policy issues. Her current research focuses on two areas 1) climate change impact, mitigation, and adaptation; 2) distributional impacts of energy infrastructure and energy access. More broadly, she is interested in harnessing economics for social and environmental equity. To provide credible evidence that would help inform government and business decisions, she combines large socioeconomic and geophysical datasets with economic theory and institutional knowledge. She employs a variety of techniques that are multi-disciplinary in nature, including applied econometrics, remote sensing, and machine learning. Her research has been published in leading general-interest journals, such as the Quarterly Journal of Economics, The Journal of Politics, and Nature Energy.

In 2022, she was selected as an AEA Economics Fellow and worked with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Most recently, she is a Visiting Scholar and Economist at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC. She is keen on translating evidence into action through teaching, research, service, and advisory. At W&L, she advises the University Sustainability Committee and sits on the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics advisory board. Around the community, she was recently elected to the Board of Directors of the Rockbridge Area Conservation Council.


Ph.D. in Sustainable Development, Columbia University
M.A. in Sustainable Development, Columbia University
B.A. in Economics, Statistics, Public Policy Minor, University of California, Berkeley


Environmental and Energy Economics
Development Economics
Climate Change Impact, Adaptation, and Mitigation
Political Economy
Social Justice


ECON 100 Introduction to Economics
ECON 202 Statistics for Economics
ECON 395 Climate and Society
ECON 402 Directed Independent Study

Selected Publications

Carleton, Tamma, Amir Jina, Michael Delgado, Michael Greenstone, Trevor Houser, Solomon Hsiang, Andrew Hultgren, Robert Kopp, Kelly McCusker, Ishan Nath, James Rising, Ashwin Rode, Hee Kwon Seo, Arvid Viaene, Jiacan Yuan, Alice Tianbo Zhang. 2022. “Valuing the Global Mortality Consequences of Climate Change Accounting for Adaptation Costs and Benefits.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 137 (4): 2037–2105.

Zhang, Alice Tianbo, Sasmita Patnaik, Shaily Jha, Shalu Agrawal, Carlos F. Gould, and Johannes Urpelainen. 2022. “Evidence of Multidimensional Gender Inequality in Energy Services from a Large-Scale Household Survey in India.” Nature Energy, June, 1–10.

Urpelainen, Johannes, and Alice Tianbo Zhang. 2022. “Electoral Backlash or Positive Reinforcement? Wind Power and Congressional Elections in the United States.” The Journal of Politics 84 (3): 1306–21.