Dr. Weifeng Zhong is a Senior Research Fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. His work focuses on bridging the field of natural language processing and machine learning to economic policy studies. His other research interests include political economy, US-China economic relations, China's economic issues, and fairness in artificial intelligence applications.
Dr. Zhong is a core maintainer of the open-source Policy Change Index (PCI) project, a framework that uses machine learning to "read" large volumes of propaganda text and facilitate inferences on policy issues. The project’s first use cases include: the PCI-China, an indicator that predicts China's major policy changes; the PCI-Crackdown, an indicator that predicts how likely the Chinese government is to crack down on Hong Kong protesters; and the PCI-Outbreak, an indicator that estimates the true scale of COVID-19 in China. The PCI framework has received significant academic interest and media coverage. The resources of this project are freely available at policychangeindex.org, including the source code for PCI-China, PCI-Crackdown, and PCI-Outbreak.
Dr. Zhong has been published in a variety of scholarly journals, including the Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics. His research and writings have been featured in the Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, Politico, Real Clear Markets, Real Clear Politics, the South China Morning Post, and The Wall Street Journal, among others.
Previously, Dr. Zhong has been a research fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He has a Ph.D. and an M.Sc. in managerial economics and strategy from Northwestern University. He also holds M.Econ. and M.Phil. degrees in economics from the University of Hong Kong and a B.A. in business administration from Shantou University in China.