Cong Peng

/Economics & Big Data/


My research features in using real-time data to solve pressing problems in economics, by connecting advances in data science with econometrics. I have been working with data generated from the Internet of Things (IoT) platforms, user-generated content, open source GIS data, and high-resolution satellite data. I am interested in applying state-of-art causal inference methods to draw inference from Big Data.


Colonial Legacies: Shaping African cities
with J. Vernon Henderson and Neeraj G. Baruah, Journal of Economic Geography

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 compared to Francophone ones are more sprawling and have less regular spatial layouts overall. They especially have more leapfrog development at the extensive margin.


Does E-Commerce Reduce Traffic Congestion? Evidence from Alibaba Single Day Shopping Event
Revise and Resubmit, Journal of Urban Economics

Traditional retail involves traffic both from warehouses to stores and from consumers to stores. E-commerce cuts intermediate traffic by delivering goods directly from the warehouses to the consumers. Although plenty of evidence has shown that vans that are servicing e-commerce are a growing contributor to traffic and congestion, consumers are also making less shopping trips using vehicles. This poses the question of whether e-commerce reduces traffic congestion. The paper exploits the exogenous shock of an influential online shopping retail discount event in China (similar to Cyber Monday), to investigate how the rapid growth of e-commerce affects urban traffic congestion.

Valuing the Environmental Benefits of Canals Using House Prices
with Steve Gibbons and Cheng Keat Tang
Revise and Resubmitted to Land Economics

The canal and waterway network in Britain provides a potentially valuable recreational and environmental amenity. We value access to this amenity using a property value approach. We improve on standard methods by controlling for micro-geographic fixed effects for small neighbourhoods and by applying a difference-in-differences method to analyze the effect of the restoration of canals in the late 2000s.



79 JFK St
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States.