Yiling ZhangGraduate Studentshe/her/hers

I am a PhD candidate in the Consumer Behavior & Family Economics Program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. I am interested in research regarding consumer financial decision-making and food security.

I graduated from Fudan University in China, majoring in public affairs. I then got my MPA degree at Cornell University with a concentration on financial and economic policy. I assisted several professors with research work at Cornell University and UW–Madison. Now I’m working on my job market paper, investigating expense-tracking behavior within the context of financial self-regulation. This research used survey data and administrative-level user data to explore the role of expense-tracking on individuals’ spending behavior, trying to uncover how, why, and when people engage in expense-tracking behavior and how this affects their financial outcomes and financial well-being.

I was a consulting assistant at a Japanese consulting firm, participating in several projects and performing market reviews, user observation sessions, and creating deliverables for customers. I also worked as an intern at the Shanghai WTO Affairs Consultation Center where I was used to collecting and analyzing economic data.

I have been a lecturer for Consumer Insights since Sept. 2022. I was a teaching assistant for Consumer Insights and from Sept. 2020-May 2022, and a teaching assistant for Consumer Behavior from Sept. 2019-May 2020.

Awards and Recognition

  • PhD Dissertation Award, 2022
  • Robin A. Douthitt Teaching Fellowship, 2021
  • Summer Time Academic Research Award, 2020

Selected Publications and Presentations

Addo, F. R., & Zhang, Y. (2019). The Emerging Millennial Wealth Gap.

A woman smiling with her head resting on her hand, with long, dark hair, wearing large wire frame glasses and a peach-colored blazer.


  • Consumer Science

Degree Program

  • PhD Human Ecology: Consumer Behavior & Family Economics


  • MPA, Financial and Economic Policy, Cornell University
  • BA, Public Affairs, Fudan University (China)




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