Dr Elizabeth Yi Wang

Dr Elizabeth Yi Wang


Dr Elizabeth Yi Wang is a statistician and an artist by training. She specialises in econometric modelling of behaviours of multi-unit organizations such as multinational enterprises (MNEs) and business groups. Starting as a “spillovers” scholar, she examined the dynamics of inward foreign direct investment and innovation in China’s subnational regions, and subsequently focused on understanding how emerging market firms develop capabilities. Her current research focuses on the interactions among four factors: enterprise, place, space, and governance (see “Research” section of the webpage). 

Dr Wang has a rather wide range of intellectual interests. She has been an advocate of “carrying capacity” and its implications for societal development in general.  She is passionate about being an excellent educator, making contributions in not only scientific discovery but also rigorous knowledge transfer to the society to generate impacts. She has been invited by overseas institutions to provide academic advice on embedding pedagogy development into public education, on regional development, regional branding, and cross-border e-commerce education.

Dr Wang had been a long-standing Co-Chair of the European Academy of International Business (EIBA)/ EIASM Doctoral Symposium in International Business (EIBA-DS) between 2013 and 2019, during which the DS was renamed as the Danny Van Den Bulcke Doctoral Symposium in International Business (DVDB-DS) to honor Danny who made significant contribution to developing and encouraging new researchers. 


Winner of Women of Achievement 2021

Winner of Dean’s Award for Teaching Excellence 2018

Winner of the Neil Hood and Stephen Young Prize for the Most Original New Work, awarded by the Doctoral Colloquium at the AIB UK & Ireland Annual Conference 2007

Ph.D. International Business and Economics, University of Leeds. The third year of her Ph.D. study was financed by the Sino-British Fellowship Trust and Chinese Student Award. Ph.D. title: “Foreign direct investment spillovers in China”. Supervisor: Professor L Jeremy Clegg, Professor Peter J Buckley, and Dr Chengqi Wang. External Examiners: Professor Steven Young, Business School, University of Glasgow, UK, and Dr Axèle Giroud, Manchester Business School, The University of Manchester, UK.


  • Director of Student Education in International Business (2015-2017)
  • Programme Director, MSc International Business (2013-2015)
  • Head of Year 1 (BSc International Business)

Research interests

The keywords that describe best my research interests are enterprise, place, space, and governance. I am interested in examining the relationships among these factors. Specifically, my research aims to answer the following key questions:

  • How do organisational, geographic, and societal boundaries interact with each other?
  • What effects arise beyond these boundaries, and how these effects, e.g., spillovers, control and identity, contribute to the changes in the world we see today? 
  • How does entrepreneurship, innovation, and governance drive changes in these boundaries over time?
  • How can new knowledge generated from the above areas make effective impact on the society, e.g., through policies?

I have supervised a number of PhD projects in areas relating to the above and continue to welcome PhD candidates to work closely with me in these areas of interest. 

Research contributions on the COVID-19 Pandemic and its impact on society:

  • I have contributed to a major Government survey designed by the Parliamentary Office Science and Technology (POST) for experts to voice their concerns on the societal impact of COVID-19.
  • Invited presentation in the 5th Emerging Markets Inspiration Conference (EMIC): Has the COVID-19 Changed the UK’s Country Image Perceived by External Stakeholders? Chinese Students' Reactions to the British Government’s Handling of the Pandemic
  • Invited book chapter contribution:  At a Crossroads: International Student Exchanges During the COVID 19 Pandemic, in Globalization, Political Economy, Business and Society in Pandemic Times, (ed.) Tony Fang and John Hassler, forthcoming. 

My recent two research grants:

  • “How does policy exert real effects?” Foreign Experts Grant awarded by the Ministry of Science and Technology of PR China. The grant is the highest-level award given by the Chinese government to support the engagement of foreign experts in scientific research and scholarly exchange. The grant aims to foster long term international research and scholarly collaborations, and therefore is renewable on an annual basis. The total amount for this year is 855,000 RMB (£94,119).
  • Strategic Crafting of Country-of-Origin-Image: Strengthening Competitive Advantages of Firms in Times of Global Geopolitical and Economic Uncertainty” Challenge Fund (£19, 500) awarded by Leeds University Business School that aims to produce impactful research through large grant applications. This is a multi-disciplinary research project with experts from Leeds University Business School and the School of Design, and industry and institutional partners from the UK, China, India, and Brazil. The research team is passionate about creating the science of strategic crafting of Country Image that benefits trade negotiations, firm exports, regional competitiveness, and societal cohesion. 

My recent research on the spillover effects of inward foreign direct investment (FDI) on performance of indegenous multi-location business groups:

Location still matters! How does geographic configuration influence the performance-enhancing advantages of FDI spillovers?, Journal of International Management, Volume 26, Issue 3, September 2020, 100777. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.intman.2020.100777

The policy implication of my research is that multinational enterprises (MNEs) are particuarly strong in protecting own technology and knowledge in a host economy, and policymakers would be wrong to focus on attracting FDI without understading “how” indegenous businesses actually learn from FDI. Indeed, indegenous firms face significant challenges but can succeed in reaping the benefits of FDI spillovers by carefully configuring (1) their “spatial” operations to maitain proximity to MNEs AND (2) the mandates of each affiliate in the group.  See my research blog “How emerging market firms learn from multinational enterprises”. Enjoy reading!


  • PhD International Business and Economics, University of Leeds
  • MSc International Finance, University of Leeds
  • BSc Economics and Statistics, Capital University of Economics & Business, Beijing, China

Professional memberships

  • The Higher Education Academy
  • European Academy of International Business
  • Academy of International Business

Student education

I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. 

During the past years, I have developed and managed 4 undergraduate (UG) modules, 5 postgraduate (PG) modules, two masters programmes – MSc International Business (IB) and MSc International Business (with Study Abroad). As Director of Student Education in International Business, I oversaw the strategic development of UG and PG IB Curriculum and, during my term, both UG and PG programmes achieved national excellence (top NSS ranking of UG programmes) and global excellence (top Financial Times Masters in Management Ranking of our MSc IB). As AACSB Accreditation Champion, I led the re-articulation of IB programme and module learning outcomes, and ensured successful accreditation of 4 UG programmes, 1 PG programme, and more than 40 associated IB modules.

I am an advocate of research-based-learning and research-led teaching. 

Recent modules:

Chinese Business (PG)

The Emerging Markets (PG)

Research Methods for International Business (UG)

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for International Business at the University of Leeds

Current postgraduate researchers