Cong Peng

/Economics & Big Data/


I am a PhD student at The London School of Economics and Political Science, with an interest in Urban/Transportation and Development Economics. I primarily focus on three strands of researches: digital economy, rapid transit system and institutions. My study on digital economy explores the economic impact of the increasingly significant role of online retailing. By tracking hourly released traffic congestion and air quality data, I investigated the impact of e-commerce on traffic congestion and air pollution. The second strand focuses on the impact of the rapid transit system on cities. I drew insight from a period when Chinese cities invested heavily on infrastructure to inform longer-term policy decisions around labor market, city infrastructure, and environmental sustainability. The last strand of my research traces the disparity in the spatial structure of cities back to the role of different institutions in cities’ early stage. In a joint project on African cities, I studied how the spatial compactness of cities is affected by differential institutions persisting from the colonial period and its implications for public good provision.


PhD in Economic Geography
London School of Economics


Fox International Fellow
Yale University

SEP 2014 - JUN 2015

Master in Economics
Fudan University

SEP 2011 - JUN 2014

BA in Economics
Zhongnan University of Economics and Law

SEP 2007 - JUN 2011


Can E-commerce Reduce Traffic Congestion and Air pollution?
Job Market Paper

The paper exploits the exogenous shocks due to two most influential shopping events in China, Single Day Shopping Event and 12 Dec Shopping Event, to investigate how rapid growth of e-commerce affects urban traffic congestion. The Single Day shopping event on 11 Nov targets online channel, while the shopping event on 12 Dec mostly affects offline channel. This contrast provides a quasi-experiment for estimating the effect of e-commerce on traffic congestion. The paper modeled consumer behavior and traffic during the two events. Adopting a structural difference-in-difference in style approach, the paper found that traffic generated from online shopping is about 52% of that generated from offline shopping for one unit of consumption. Given that Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) is a major vehicle exhaust and a good proxy of traffic congestion, I found similar result for the traffic saving ratio when using NO2 as alternative measure, which also implies that e-commerce can reduce traffic related air pollution.

Colonial Legacies: Shaping African cities
with J. Vernon Henderson and Neeraj G. Baruah

Differential institutions imposed under colonial rule continue to affect the spatial structure of African cities and day-to-day life. Based on a sample of 318 cities across 28 countries with satellite data on built cover over time, Anglophone origin cities com- pared to Francophone ones are more sprawling and have less regular spatial layouts overall. They especially have more leapfrog development at the extensive margin. Re- sults are impervious to a border experiment and to many robustness tests, measures of sprawl, and sub-samples. Why would colonial origins matter? British colonial govern- ments operated under indirect rule and a dual mandate within cities, allowing colonial and native sections to develop without an overall plan and coordination. French gov- ernments operated more under direct rule, with, in principle, comprehensive integrated city planning and land allocation mechanisms. While the results provide evidence of the strong role of colonial influence and persistence of institutions, they also have pub- lic policy relevance. In cities, from DHS data, similar households which are located in areas of the city with more leapfrog development have poorer connections to piped water, electricity, and landlines, presumably because of higher costs of providing in- frastructure with urban sprawl.

Valuing the Environmental Benefits of Canals Using House Prices
with Steve Gibbons and Cheng Keat Tang
commissioned by Canal & River Trust of the UK


Center for Economic Performance, LSE
Research Assitant

Nov 2015 - CURRENT

Yale Law School
Research Assistant

Dec 2014 - Sep 2015

China Knowledge Center, McKinsey & Company
Research Assistant

Sep 2012 - Mar 2014


Geographic Information System Workshop, LSE
Workshop material download here

Lent term 2016-2018

Introductory to Quantitative Analysis, LSE
Teaching assitant

Michaelmas term 2017

Techniques of Spatial Economic Analysis, LSE
Teaching assitant

Lent term 2018






Web development




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