Wanyi Li 李婉嫕
I work on market design for environmental sustainability. I have a PhD in operations management from Stanford University Management Science and Engineering Department (co-advised by Itai Ashlagi and Irene Lo). My training is in operations research and economics.
I am currently based in Cambridge, MA.
My expertise is in designing contracts and markets for natural capital. Given that natural capital differs from conventional production goods, I consider how to balance the dynamics of conservation and consumption. My experience ranges from advising NGOs on carbon credit programs with smallholder farmers in Africa, to designing better contracts for Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) programs. My main interest lies at the intersection of environmental sustainability and international development.
If your organization is looking for a market designer (think of me as an economic engineer who designs the rules to make markets functional), feel free to get in touch via email (see below) or my LinkedIn. I do pro bono work for non-profits.
Industry, Public, Non-Profit Experience
- Contractor at SilviaTerra [Winter 2021]
- I built an optimization program to run the forest carbon credit auction for SilviaTerra's Natural Capital Exchange (NCAPX).
- Technical Editor for The Dasgupta Review on the Economics of Biodiveristy [Fall 2020]
- The Dasgupta Review is an independent, global review commissioned by the UK Treasury and led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta.
- I edited the Review's 13 chapters of technical contents (economic theories), including the portfolio asset management problem of biodiversity and the economics of intergenerational well-being.
- Pro Bono Consultant for One Acre Fund [Since 2020]
- I advise on the design of One Acre Fund's agroforestry carbon credit program with smallholder farmers.
- AI for Earth Research Intern at Microsoft Research New England Lab, Cambridge, MA [Spring 2020]
- I was mentored by Nicole Immorlica and Brendan Lucier in the Economics and Computer Science group. My internship was funded by Micrsoft AI for Earth. We collaborate with NGOs in East Africa to validate our theory work on contract design for afforestation programs.
- Research Fellow at the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), Kampala, Uganda [Fall 2019]
- I worked with the Trees-on-Farms for Biodiversity team in Uganda. I presented my research to local stakeholders from public, non-profit and private sectors. I also conducted focus group interviews with smallholder farmers in Mukono district on their tree-usage behavior.
- Econ-CS Research Intern at Microsoft Research New England Lab, Cambridge, MA [Summer 2019]
- I was mentored by Nicole Immorlica and Brendan Lucier in the Economics and Computer Science group. We built a theoretical model to design long-term payment programs to incentivize tree-growing for farmers.
- Simple and Optimal Contract Design for Payment for Ecosysterm Services
- Joint work with Itai Ashlagi and Irene Lo.
- Our paper was accepted and presented at the 4th MD4SG workshop in August 2020.
- I presented an earlier version of this work at the 2019 INFORMS Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA and the 2019 Natural Capital Symposium in Stanford, CA.
- Contract Design for Afforestation Programs
- Joint work with Nicole Immorlica and Brendan Lucier.
- Our paper was accepted and presented at the AI for Social Good workshop in July 2020.
- We were one of the winners of the Global Challenges in Economics and Computation (GCEC) Request for Proposals in July 2020.
- I was awarded with the Stanford King Center on Global Development’s spring 2020 Graduate Student Research Funding.
- Welfare Impacts of Travel Delays in Queues
- I presented this work at the 2018 INFORMS Annual Meetings in Phoenix, AZ.
- Co-organizer of Mechanism Design for Social Good (MD4SG) [Since Fall 2020]
- I oversee internal operations of 9 working groups and lead the organizational strategy effort.
- Co-organizer of the Environment Working Group at MD4SG 
- Our working group is composed of researchers across diverse geographical locations and academic disciplines. We meet virtually bi-weekly. I co-organize this group with Lily Xu. If you are interested in joining, or if you are an NGO interested in knowing further about our work, feel free to get in touch with me!
- Member of School of Engineering Dean’s Graduate Student Advisory Council (DGSAC) [2019 - 2020]
- Director of Academic Diversity (Excutive Cabinet member) of the Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) [2018 - 2019]
- I created the "Demystifying Grad School" panel series with the Undergraduate Advising and Research office (UAR), which discusses practical matters related to starting graduate school and pursuing academia with the underrepresented undergraduate community.
- Kiln Manager at the Stanford Ceramics Club [2019 - 2020]
- I managed the kiln group (a group of 20 people) to schedule kiln firings and load kilns.
Awards & Honors
- Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship [2018 - 2020]
- Stanford School of Engineering Graduate Fellowship [2016 - 2018]
- Phyllis Fleming Prize for Excellence in Physics, Wellesley College 
- Phi Beta Kappa Society, Sigma Xi Society, magna cum laude, Wellesley College 
- United World College Davis Scholar, Wellesley College [2012 - 2016]
Academic Service & Teaching
- Member of the program committee, ACM conference on Equity and Access in Algorithms, Mechanisms, and Optimization (EAAMO) 
- Member of the program committee, Operations of people-centric system at ACM EC'21 
- Diversity & Inclusion Co-chair, 4th Workshop on Mechanism Design for Social Good 
- Member of the program committee, 4th Workshop on Mechanism Design for Social Good 
- Member of the program committee, AI for Social Good workshop [2020, 2021]
- Course assistant, MS&E 220 Probability Analysis (master level course) [Summer 2017, Summer 2018]
- Course assistant, OIT 262 Operations (MBA course at Stanford Graduate School of Business) [Spring 2017, Spring 2018]
- 2016 - 2021: Stanford University @ CA
New: I successefully defended my dissertation in April and completed my PhD in May 2021. Thesis committee: Itai Ashlagi, Irene Lo, John Weyant, Ramesh Johari, Alex Teytelboym and Jim Leape.
I was a member of the Stanford Ceramic Club where I made pottery and fired the kiln.
- 2012 - 2016: Wellesley College @ MA
I graduated magna cum laude with a major in Physics and a minor in Computer Science. I was a flautist in the Chamber Music Socity and the treasurer of the Amnesty International Wellesley College chapter.
- 2010 - 2012: United World College (UWC) Mahindra College @ Pune, India
- 2008 - 2010: Suzhou High School @ Suzhou, China
- Prior to 2008: Hometown @ Xuzhou (徐州), China
To see a list of places on earth I have been, check out here!
You can email me at "first name" + "last name" AT stanford DOT edu.
Here is my LinkedIn.