Proposal preview

China’s Economic Performance and Real Data,1600-2010

The Period of 1600 to 2010 is an important one regarding some
fundamental changes in economic performance in China: China was the single largest economy in the world in circa 1600; now China is on its way to become the largest economy again after five centuries’ ups and downs.

However, to trace and measure China’s economic performance has been difficult and controversial especially given the fact that the Imperial bureaucracy did not produce consistent economic data (from 1600 to 1911), republican governments were busy fighting wars (1912-1949), and Mao’s government did not keep up with the international statistical standard or did not produce data at all (e.g. during 1966-1976). The majority works on this subject in scholarship have predominantly been based on estimates with great disparities.

Not only that estimates are commonly treated as ‘data’ to produce unreliable results.

In this session, we will scrutinize the available real data for the
economy, excluding modern estimates, to better understand China’s economic performance of the four main periods: (1) 1600-1911, (2) 1912-1949, (3) 1949-1979, and (4) 1979-2010.


  • Yuru Wang, Institute of Economics, Nankai University, China,,
  • Kent Deng, Department of Economic History, London School of Economics, UK,,

Session members

  • Man-hong Lin, Fellow of the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica,
  • Hongzhong Yan, School of Economics, the Finance and Economics University of Shanghai,
  • Shengmin Sun, Shandong University,
  • Jinsong Zhao, Southwest University of Finance and Economics,
  • Yongqiang Guan, Nankai University,
  • Yiming Zhu, Nankai University,
  • Zhe Wang, Nankai University,
  • Chenghu Liu, Shanxi University,
  • Chang Luo, Shanxi University,

Proposed discussant(s)

  • Se Yan, Guanghua School of Management, Peking University,