Dr Lefan Liu

Lefan Liu profile picture

Institute of Applied Health Research
Research Fellow

Contact details

Health Economics Unit
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Lefan joined the Health Economics Unit as a research fellow in July 2023 and is working closely with Dr Philip Kinghorn on an NIHR funded project about Family Group Conferencing (FGC) within adult social care and mental health.

Lefan will be contributing to the project by collecting primary data and using her expertise in quantitative and economic analytical tools.

ORCiD Profile 0000-0003-1699-5981


  • Associate Fellow of HEA, 2019 
  • PhD in Economics, University of Nottingham, UK, 2016
  • MA in Applied Economics, Hunan University, China, 2011
  • BA in Public Finance, Hunan University, China, 2009


Lefan joined the University of Birmingham as a research fellow in July 2023. Previously, she was working in China with a teaching role at the University of Nottingham Ningbo China (2015-2023).

She did her PhD at the School of Economics, University of Nottingham, UK 2011-2016. During her PhD, she studied the health of the elderly living in China using household panel data - China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS). Her recent research work looks at health literacy (e.g., do people learn from their chronic diseases), patient trust in physicians (e.g., do people’s health utilization experience change their trust in doctors), and smoking (e.g., do smoking and drinking place a penalty on income). She is interested in using data to inform public policy to promote population health. She likes the notion of “thinking in reverse” and how it can be applied in health and healthcare studies. Daniel Kahneman, the well-known behavior economist put it nicely: instead of asking, “How can I get him or her to do it?” it starts with a question of, “Why isn’t she doing it already?” More recently, she has been fascinated by the advances in causal inferences, including the graphical models (started by Judea Pearl).


Research interests

Health Economics, Applied Microeconometrics

Doctoral Research

Microeconomic Analyses of the Health of the Elderly in China (http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/33931/)

Current projects

  • Family Group Conferencing in adult social care and mental health: exploring how it works and what difference it can make in people’s lives
  • Public Trust in Physicians and the Role of Healthcare Utilization. We study the effects of health insurance on public trust in physicians.
  • The relationship between health literacy and residents’ health outcomes and health behaviours, including chronic diseases and smoking. This is a collaborative project with researchers from Ningbo Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).



Recent publications


Chen, Y-P, Liu, L, Che, Y, Huang, J, Li, G, Sang, G-X, Xuan, Z-Q & He, T-F 2022, 'Modeling and Predicting Pulmonary Tuberculosis Incidence and Its Association with Air Pollution and Meteorological Factors Using an ARIMAX Model: An Ecological Study in Ningbo of China', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 19, no. 9, 5385. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095385

Liu, L 2022, 'The Impacts of Depression and Chronic Diseases on the Health of Older Adults in China: Evidence in a System Equations Framework', The Chinese Economy, vol. 55, no. 5, pp. 343-368. https://doi.org/10.1080/10971475.2021.1996551

Liu, L, Huang, J, Li, G, Chen, Z & He, T 2022, 'The economic costs of limited health literacy in China: evidence from China’s National Health Literacy Surveillance data', BMC Health Services Research, vol. 22, no. 1, 521. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-022-07795-9

Bridges, S & Liu, L 2022, 'The impact of child migration on the health and well‐being of parents left behind', Journal of International Development, vol. 34, no. 6, pp. 1145-1164. https://doi.org/10.1002/jid.3621

He, T, Liu, L, Huang, J, Li, G & Guo, X 2021, 'Health Knowledge about Smoking, Role of Doctors, and Self-Perceived Health: A Cross-Sectional Study on Smokers’ Intentions to Quit', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 18, no. 7, 3629. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18073629

He, T, Liu, L, Huang, J, Li, G & Guo, X 2021, 'The Community Health Supporting Environments and Residents’ Health and Well-Being: The Role of Health Literacy', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 18, no. 15, 7769. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18157769

Liu, L, Qian, X, Chen, Z & He, T 2020, 'Health literacy and its effect on chronic disease prevention: evidence from China’s data', BMC Public Health. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-08804-4

View all publications in research portal