Zhirong (Jerry) Zhao

Associate Professor
Director, Institute for Urban & Regional Infrastructure Finance
economic development; infrastructure finance; local government management; public budgeting; public financial management; sustainable development

A native of China, Zhirong "Jerry" Zhao is an associate professor of public administration. His research focuses on public budgeting and finance, in particular how local governments generate sufficient revenue under ever-increasing constraints; how state and local fiscal structures affect the pattern and effectiveness of public service delivery; and how public and nonprofit organizations interact with each other in budgetary and service decision making.

Jerry holds a PhD in Public Administration from the University of Georgia and earned bachelor's and master's degrees in Urban Planning from Tongji University (China). In his earlier career as an urban planner, he led many projects for local governments across China, and published journal articles and book chapters on urban renewal and historical preservation. As a public administration scholar, he has published in Public Administration Review, Public Finance Review, Public Budgeting and Finance, Municipal Finance Journal, and Chinese Public Administration Review, and has worked on funded projects supported by the Minnesota Legislature, Minnesota Department of Transportation, and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Jerry was named the Humphrey School's Instructor of the Year in 2009 and 2013. 

In The Media

The Humphrey School’s Jerry Zhao is quoted in this column, which examines an unusual funding mechanism for the Southwest Light Rail Line that will run from downtown Minneapolis to Eden Prairie.


Star Tribune
September 5, 2016

The certificates are defined as “a special kind of revenue bond, with a fuzzy guarantee,” said Jerry Zhao, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. 

Star Tribune
August 1, 2015