September 29, 2020 | By Wisconsin School of Business | Back to news
Dayin Zhang

The Wisconsin School of Business welcomes Dayin Zhang, an assistant professor in the Department of Real Estate and Urban Land Economics. Zhang earned a BS in mathematics, and a BA and MA in finance at Renmin University of China in Beijing. He holds an MS in business administration and received his PhD in finance and real estate at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley.

Zhang shares his thoughts below on joining the School and the University of Wisconsin–Madison community.

WSB: What are your research interests? 

Zhang: My research interests lie in real estate, household finance, and macroeconomics.

WSB: Is there a topic within the field that most excites you?

Zhang: The most exciting topic for me is how the architecture of financial intermediation affects household access to credit. For example, my dissertation evaluates a government funding program in support of the primary mortgage lending market—Federal Home Loan Banks—and finds it increases local market competition by alleviating small banks’ financial constraints. Quantitatively, I estimate that by increasing market competition, the Federal Home Loan Banks increase mortgage lending by $50 billion and save borrowers $4.7 billion in interest payments every year.

WSB: What started your initial interest in real estate? 

Zhang: Economics is quite a practical field of science. The importance of the questions is always the priority when picking research topics. By nature, the field of real estate is full of important economic issues. From the micro perspective, real estate is the largest component of most individuals’ asset portfolio, and buying a home is probably the most important and complicated personal finance decision of their lives. From a macro perspective, real estate assets outweigh other categories of financial assets in both the financial industry and the national capital account. And a good understanding of the real estate problems will help us build a connection between micro- and macro-economics, which is often seen as the “missing link” in modern economics.

WSB: What convinced you to join WSB’s Department of Real Estate and Urban Land Economics faculty?

Zhang: It was an easy decision. UW–Madison has one of the top real estate programs in the world, with top-notch researchers. It has always been my dream and it’s a great honor to be a faculty member in the program.

WSB: What are you looking forward to experiencing in Madison and at UW–Madison?

 Zhang: As I have said, the real estate department is full of brilliant talents, whom I hope to work closely with. Other than the real estate faculty, there are many superb professors that I have great respect for in WSB and UW–Madison’s Department of Economics. I will take advantage of the geographic proximity and build strong collaborative relationships with them. And lifewise, there is more to look forward to. Every single one of my friends has expressed different degrees of jealousy after they learned I would move to Madison. I cannot wait to show them the beautiful pictures of the lakes and the crazy snowfall in the winter.

WSB: Do you have favorite hobbies or other interests?

Zhang: I am very into sports, and like to bike and play soccer. My day usually started with a tough biking journey to the campus when I studied at Berkeley. Since the campus is on a hill, it took a lot of energy to get to my office. The ride inspired me, because when I started to work after the 30-minute ride, my mentality was about spending every minute to the fullest for the rest of the day, since I had worked so hard to come here. And that mentality really helped me through graduate school. So biking is not only a good exercise but it’s also efficiency-improving for work.


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