Proposal preview

The Path of China’s Development in Global Perspective

Over the past 40 years, China has transformed itself from a technologically backward and poor, to a moderately modern and affluent economy. China’s economic performance in the last two decades was extraordinary by any standard. Massive systemic changes were brought about in the world’s most populated economy, which at the same time maintained a world-leading growth rate, a single-digit inflation rate, a huge build-up of foreign exchange reserves, a sharp decline in poverty, and the wide participation of different sections of society in the benefits of economic growth.

In dealing with China’s extraordinary economic achievement of the past several decades, a new concept of “Chinese development path” has been proposed, and it now has become a hot issue in understanding the Chinese economy. Both inside and outside of China, people are researching and giving explanations for China’s economic success in recent decades, and at the same time have raised many questions: what and where are the political, economic, social, or cultural foundations for this rapid economic growth? What have the Chinese done similarly to or differently from nations that have successfully undergone economic transformation? Is China always borrowing the experiences of Western countries, or has it established its own unique development path? Is this fast-speed growth healthy and sustainable, and is there any historical root behind China’s economic performance, etc.?

This session intends to discuss Chinese economic changes in pre-modern and modern times and to explore the root reasons for today’s development. We try to understand the institutional origins and historical background of the unique China development path. specifically, we hope to figure out what historical factors shaped China’s development path: globalization? culture? natural and geographic endowments? we also want to summarize the unique features of China’s development path, and what useful experiences and lessons other developing economies can obtain from studying China’s development path. We invite scholars from all backgrounds and perspectives who are interested in this topic to engage in our discussion. Papers on the following aspects are particularly welcome: the impact of globalization on China’s economic development in the past 500 years; Ming-Qing China’s response to and engagement in the world economy; the relationship between state and merchants and between government and the market in different periods, and in comparison to the West; the role of culture in China’s unique path; the formation of capital in China’s development, etc.


  • Se Yan, Peking University,, China
  • Li Zhang, Beihang University,, China
  • Xuejun Zhao, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,, China

Session members

  • Fumin Sui, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,
  • Weipeng Yuan, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,
  • Guo Fan, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,
  • Yun Qu, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,
  • Jinhua Su, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,
  • Xu Chang, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,
  • Liang Zhao, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,
  • Yongqiang Guan, Nankai University,
  • Jianbo Zhou, Peking University,
  • Qiang Liu, Dongbei University of Finance and Economics,

Proposed discussant(s)

  • Debin Ma, London School of Economics,
  • Denggao Long, Tsinghua University,