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Wei Li

Wei Li

Senior Research Associate

The housing finance market is a crucial leverage on almost every aspect of society, from wealth building to education to public infrastructure to environmental protection. Yet its study has been dominated by financial economics focusing on internal market products, players, and rules. Unlike most financial economists, I focus on the interaction between the housing finance market and its social and political environment, and I look at the policy implications. In my view, it is this interaction that drives the movement of the market, shapes individuals’ behavior, and determines their outcome in the housing finance market. Filling research gaps in this area will lead to more efficient policies to achieve urban sustainability.


Wei Li is a senior research associate in the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute, where his research focuses on the social and political aspects of the housing finance market and their implications for urban policy. He is also a quantitative research methodologist with a deep understanding of cost-benefit analysis, program evaluation, and causal inference in social and political science.

Before joining Urban, Li was a principal researcher with the Center for Responsible Lending, where he wrote numerous publications on the housing finance market and created and managed the nonprofit organization’s comprehensive residential mortgage database. Li’s work has been published widely in various academic journals and covered in the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and New York Times as well as other print and broadcast media.

Li received his MA in statistics and his PhD in environmental science, policy, and management from the University of California, Berkeley.

Centers & Initiatives

Housing Finance Policy Center