Zhang has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Shandong University, an M.Sc. in population, resource and environmental economics from Fudan University and a Ph.D. from Ohio State University. He has also obtained a Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Demography. His primary research interests are in regional and urban economics. His current research focuses on a wide range of topics in applied microeconomics, such as policy evaluation and the impacts of population aging on local labor markets.