Ning Leng received her B.A. in Labor Economics and Labor Relations from Renmin University of China, and M.S. in Public Policy Analysis from Carnegie Mellon University. Before coming to University of Wisconsin-Madison for PhD studies, she worked as a business consultant in Chicago. Ning studies political economy, with an area interest in China and India.
Her dissertation,“Visible Development First: The Political Economy of Restructuring China’s Public Service Sectors", looks into the impact of China's central environmental initiatives on local public service sectors that carry out these development projects, and shows how nondemocratic institutions create unintended consequences in state-business relations and development outcomes. She has done extensive fieldwork in China and India. Ning speaks Mandarin, Cantonese, English and basic Hindi. Her research is supported by the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Institute for Humane Studies Fellowship and various other research grants.