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China Research Workshops

This interdisciplinary series on China features current research by faculty, visiting scholars and advanced graduate students at the dissertation-writing stage. In a typical workshop, the presenter discusses his/her research project, followed by questions and feedback from the audience.

We are always interested in hearing about new research and especially welcome recommendations from faculty about works in progress by their graduate students. If you would like to present or be put on the mailing list, please contact 21china@ucsd.edu.

Faculty, researchers and students are encouraged to participate. Meetings take place on 12:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted. 

Upcoming Workshops

Terrifyingly Normal: How Bureaucratic Incentives Shape Repression in China
Oct. 22, 2021 | Register
Presenter: Victor Shih, Associate Professor, UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy
The extant literature on government repression has largely focused on cross-national factors such as regime-types, institutional constraints on the executive, and proximity to neighboring civil wars. We add to a growing literature on subnational factors of repression by focusing on bureaucratic incentives to repress, which we argue can have a profound impact on subnational distribution of state repression. Focusing on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s institutions governing stability maintenance and cadre promotion, we hypothesize that the asymmetric distribution of risks in the event of large-scale riots, which necessitated bloody crackdowns, deterred promising officials from using force in the first place, whereas officials with lower career prospects were more indifferent to the use of force. Empirically, we test this hypothesis by drawing on novel data on the career trajectories of regime officials and a national data base of labor protests. Using both an instrumental variables strategy and a structural equation approach, we show that the promotion prospects of regime officials had a plausibly causal effect on repression. Consistent with our expectations, officials who were more likely to be promoted were less likely to violently repress labor protests and more likely to peacefully mediate them. However, officials, even promising ones, relied more on repression for protests that were large, occurred during pro-democracy anniversaries, or occurred in regions with perceived separatist threats, consistent with the extant literature’s observation of the regime’s hardline stance on political protests.

Impact of Market Structure on Regulatory Compliance: Evidence from Online Censorship in China
Oct. 29, 2021 | Register
Presenter: Z. Jessie Liu, Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School
Abstract: This paper studies the role of market structure in regulatory compliance through a unique empirical example: censorship via content removal by three major live-streaming platforms in China. Based on 30 unexpected sensitive events, I first present reduced-form evidence that the largest platform censored a higher number of keywords and complied faster on average than the smaller platforms. I then develop and estimate a structural model where platforms compete for users by choosing whether to comply with the government’s censorship requests. By complying immediately, platforms may lose users who prefer to evade censorship by switching out. By delaying compliance, platforms incur a cost imposed by the government that is positively correlated with their sizes, but it also allows them to attract new users from their competitors which quickly comply with the government’s censorship requests. My counterfactual analysis predicts that centralizing market power via merging or shutting down small platforms could backfire and lead to a lower scope of censorship.

Embracing Democracy with Authoritarian Imprints
Nov. 5, 2021 | Register
Presenter: Zhang Dong, Assistant Professor, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Division of Social Science

Nationalism, Ideology, and the Domestic Politics of Chinese Foreign Policy
Nov. 19, 2021
Presenter: Jessica Chen Weiss, Associate Professor of Government, Cornell University
Abstract: How does China’s domestic governance shape its foreign policy? What role do nationalism and ideology play in Beijing’s regional and global aspirations? The Chinese leadership has been at once a revisionist, defender, reformer, and free-rider in the international system—insisting rigidly on issues that are central to its domestic survival, while showing flexibility on issues that are more peripheral. Weiss will discuss her new book project on the domestic-international linkages in Beijing’s approach to the international order and issues ranging from sovereignty and human rights to climate change and COVID-19.

Topic to be Confirmed
Dec. 3, 2021
Presenter: Ruixue Jia, Associate Professor of Economics, UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy

2021

Curses or Blessings: How Low Asset Mobility Helps Foreign Firms Gain Government Support
Oct. 15, 2021
Presenter: Haosen Ge, Ph.D. Candidate, Princeton University
Abstract: Low asset mobility is often seen as undermining the bargaining power of foreign investors. This article advances an alternative view that emphasizes the positive effects of low asset mobility. I argue that governments favor foreign firms with lower mobility because their commitment to stay is always more credible. I present a formal model to illustrate how 1) governments' preference for economic gains and 2) investment competition intensity determines the political effect of asset mobility. I empirically evaluate the theoretical predictions using two studies in China. First, leveraging a change in enterprise income tax law in 2008, I use a difference in differences design to examine the effect of ex post asset mobility on government treatment. Second, I field an original survey of foreign firms' managers in China to test the theoretical mechanisms. My findings support that governments favor immobile foreign firms over their mobile peers on average. This study shows that the role of asset mobility in government-investor bargaining is more nuanced in this era of globalization.

The Needham Question: A History of Chinese Technology
Oct. 1, 2021
Presenter: Yasheng Huang, Professor of Global Economics and Management, MIT Sloan Business School
Abstract: Using a newly created dataset on Chinese inventions in history, Huang and coauthors revisit the famous “Needham Question”—why China failed to launch its own Industrial Revolution. We examine several hypotheses proposed by scholars and find the most plausible hypothesis to be one about political and ideological contestability. This talk will draw from one chapter of Huang's forthcoming book, "The Rise of the East, Again?"

Leviathan's Offer: State-building with Elite Compensation in Early Medieval China
Sept. 24, 2021
Presenter: Erik Wang, Assistant Professor, Australia National University
Abstract: How do rulers soften resistance to state-building efforts by those who lose from reform? This paper highlights a strategy of compensation via the bureaucracy, in which the ruler offers meaningful government offices in exchange for elites’ acceptance of state-building reforms. We empirically explore this strategy in the context of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386 - 534 AD), which terminated an era of state weakness in early medieval China that initially resulted from entrenched landowning interests and fragile barbarian kingdoms. Our unique dataset combines geocoded family background and career histories of around 2,600 elites with information on medieval Chinese strongholds, which we use to infer state weakness. Leveraging a comprehensive state-building reform in the late 5th century, difference-in-differences estimates document that the reform led to a sustained, substantial increase in the total number of powerful aristocrats from localities with strongholds recruited into the imperial bureaucracy. Subsequent estimates provide evidence for two mechanisms by which compensation facilitates state-building: 1) the offices taken by these elites came with direct benefits of prestige and power, and 2) by transforming these aristocrats from local powers into national stakeholders, these offices potentially induced the realignment of their interests toward those of the dynasty. Further analysis suggests that the bureaucracy provided the regime with institutional tools of power-sharing to mitigate credible commitment problems. Findings in this paper shed light on the causes of the “First Great Divergence,” where similar barbarian invasions at similar times led to political fragmentation in Europe but further state consolidation in China.

 

 

The China Model
June 4, 2021
Presenter: Hongbin Li, founding co-director, Stanford Center on China’s Economy and Institutions; Senior Fellow, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research
Abstract: The hypothesis that China’s economic success is because of centralized state control has become increasingly popular in both China and the United States. However, empirical evidence suggests the opposite: China’s economic success since 1978 has been driven primarily by economic liberalization, and in particular decentralized decision-making and highly motivated local officials competing against each other in promoting growth. This same economic model can also explain China’s recent slowdown. With this in mind, what economic models can China choose to follow today?

Regulating Conglomerates in China: Evidence from an Energy Conservation Program
May 21, 2021
Presenter: Daniel Xu, Professor of Economics, Duke University; Research Associate, NBER
How does energy regulation affect production and energy use within conglomerates? We study the effects of a prominent program aimed at reducing the energy use of large Chinese companies. Difference-in-differences analyses show that regulated firms significantly reduced their energy consumption and output but did not increase their energy efficiency. Using detailed business registration data, we link regulated firms to non-regulated firms that are part of the same conglomerate. We estimate large spillovers on cross-owned non-regulated firms, which increased both output and energy use. We then specify and estimate a model of conglomerate production that fits our setting and the estimated effects of the regulation. The model quantifies the importance of conglomerate reallocation for aggregate outcomes and for the shadow cost of the regulation. Using our model, we evaluate the welfare effects of existing, recently enacted, and alternative policies, and we quantify the welfare gains from using public information on business networks to improve the design of energy regulation.

Assessing the Impact of the One-child Policy in China: a Synthetic Control Approach
April 30, 2021
Presenter: CHENG Yuan, Professor, Population Research Institute, LSE-Fudan Research Centre for Global Public Policy, Fudan University
There is great debate surrounding the demographic impact of China’s population control policies, especially the one-birth restrictions, which ended only recently. We apply an objective, data-driven method to construct the total fertility rates and population size of a ‘synthetic China’, which is assumed to be not subjected to the two major population control policies implemented in the 1970s. We find that while the earlier, less restrictive ‘later-longer-fewer’ policy introduced in 1973 played a critical role in driving down the fertility rate, the role of the ‘one-child policy’ introduced in 1979 and its descendants was much less significant. According to our model, had China continued with the less restrictive policies that were implemented in 1973 and followed a standard development trajectory, the path of fertility transition and total population growth would have been statistically very similar to the pattern observed over the past three decades.

Foreign Policy Revisionism in the Era of COVID-19: Theory and Evidence from Chinese Public Opinion
April 23, 2021
Presenters:
Joshua Byun, Ph.D Student, Dept. of Poltical Science, University of Chicago
Sichen Li, Ph.D Student, Dept. of Political Science, UC San Diego
D.G. Kim, Ph.D Candidate, Dept. of Political Science, UC San Diego
Political commentary in the era of COVID-19 often takes for granted that the pandemic will transform China’s approach to great-power competition. But implicit in this concern are untested assumptions about the ways in which the pandemic is shaping widespread foreign policy attitudes within America’s foremost geopolitical rival. This study uses original public opinion surveys fielded in China during the first six months of the global pandemic to evaluate these assumptions. We find that ordinary Chinese citizens today are conspicuously optimistic about China’s future position in the global balance of power, and that this optimism corresponds well with the widespread perception that the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating China’s rise relative to the United States. And crucially, “COVID-19 optimism” reliably predicts increased support for a wide range of revisionist foreign policies, including the use of force against the U.S. and its allies as well as the pursuit of regional hegemony in the Asia-Pacific. That said, there is also evidence that public support for revisionist policies is qualified in important ways. Overall, our findings suggest that the perceived impact of the COVID-19 pandemic can function as a heuristic that profoundly shapes America’s reputation for power abroad.

Dethroning the Mao-Era Elite, Clearing the Way for Reform: Using Organizational Histories to Illuminate Cadre Management
April 9, 2021
Presenters:
Hao CHEN, Postdoctoral Scholar and Teaching Fellow, University of Southern California
Saul WILSON, Ph.D. Candidate, Harvard University
Yuhua WANG, Associate Professor of Government, Harvard University
Prevailing wisdom attributes to local officials much of the economic dynamism of the early reform period. Those local officials were the product of a wholesale transformation of the Chinese political elite undertaken by the reformist leadership in the early 1980s, ushering out Mao-era elites and replacing them with younger, professionalized cadres. We show how thoroughgoing was the removal of Mao-era elites by examining the removal of military leaders, Cultural Revolutionaries, and older Mao-era elites during the 1982--1984 administrative reforms. We are able to show this early and extensive departure of Mao-era elites from leadership positions using a novel dataset of over 50,000 local bureaucrats in Shanxi Province. Gleaned from organizational histories and yearbooks, this new dataset extends from the provincial level to the township level and from the founding of the party to the present, opening the door to much deeper insights into temporal and geographic variation in cadre management.

Social Media and Protests in China
Feb. 18, 2021
Presenter: Yanhui Wu, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Hong Kong
While easing public communication of dissent, social media may enable authoritarian regimes to alleviate the information problem due to limited truthful communication from bottom up. In this paper, we study such a tradeoff by examining whether and how social media affects grassroots political action (i.e., protests and strikes) in China. Based on a unique dataset of 13.2 billion posts published on the most prominent Chinese microblog platform during 2009-2013, we construct a network of social media information flow across cities. Exploiting the dynamics of network expansion, we find that information diffusion over social media has a sizeable effect on the geographical spread of both protests and strikes. The spread is rapid and predominantly between events within the same category (e.g., cause and industry); event spread across categories is still significant, albeit weaker. Further content analysis rules out the mechanisms that social media facilitates explicit coordination of collective action and help protesters learn tactics. Instead, we find evidence consistent with the mechanisms of tacit coordination and emotional response. Our findings shed new lights on the debate regarding the feasibility that social media helps resolve authoritarian regimes’ information problems and the limitation of strategic media control.

Disperse and Preserve the Perverse: Computing How Hip-Hop Censorship Changed Popular Music Production in China
Feb. 12, 2021
Presenter: Ke Nie, Doctoral Student, Department of Sociology, UC San Diego
This project explores how censorship of an artistic genre changes artistic forms of that genre while also triggering strategic reactions from the artists of closely related genres using an original dataset of 53,364 songs released on a Chinese online music platform.

Understanding Policy Preferences of the Chinese Public: Configuration, Stability, and Intensity
Jan. 15, 2021
Presenter: Yiqing Xu, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Stanford University
Using a series of surveys and experiments administrated online, we study the configuration, stability, and intensity of policy preferences in China. We find that, first, policy preferences of the Chinese public are highly multi-dimensional.

2020

Little to Lose: Exit Options and Technological Receptiveness in China
Oct. 16, 2020
Presenter: Nicole Wu, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance, Princeton University
This paper presents evidence from two original surveys of workers and companies that finds that insofar as laborers experience automation anxiety, local workers are more pessimistic about their prospects of securing comparable employment after displacement.

Mobilizing for Development: The Modernization of Rural East Asia
Oct. 13, 2020
Presenter: Kristen E. Looney, Assistant Professor of Asian Studies and Government, Georgetown University
"Mobilizing for Development" tackles the question of how countries achieve rural development and offers a new way of thinking about East Asia's political economy that challenges the developmental state paradigm. Through a comparison of Taiwan (1950s–1970s), South Korea (1950s–1970s), and China (1980s–2000s).

A Theory of Power Structure and Political Stability: China vs. Europe Revisited
Oct. 9, 2020
Presenter: Yang Xie, Assistant Professor of Economics, UC Riverside (Co-author: Ruixue Jia, Associate Professor, School of Global Policy & Strategy, UC San Diego
Why was Europe, with stronger rule of law and property rights, mired in conflict during most of its history, while China experienced relatively higher political stability? We offer one answer by focusing on power structure: how power was shared among three estates: the Ruler, the Elites (lords or bureaucrats), and the People.

Economic Decoupling or Business as Usual: Assessing the Trade War’s Impact on Foreign Invested Enterprises in China
Oct. 2, 2020
Presenters: Samantha A. Vortherms, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, UC Irvine; Jiakun Jack Zhang, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Kansas
This paper is a first cut attempt to explore the determinants of economic decoupling. We investigate the impact of the Trade War on China-based foreign-invested enterprises using a new dataset.

Agricultural Modernization and the End of the Reform Period in China: The Transformation of the Tea Industry in Meitan, Guizhou
Mar. 6, 2020
Presenter: Alexander Day, Associate Professor of History; Chair, East Asian Studies, Occidental College
Taking a long view, this talk investigated that reconstruction of a county tea industry in order to help map the emergence of China’s contemporary agri-food system. With the decline of the state-owned industry in the late 1990s, the tea industry of Meitan County, Guizhou fractured from a single, state-owned enterprise to almost 500 producers today. It has taken on a complex structure through a process of vertically integrating tea growers and producers in a way very different from the form that emerged beginning in the 1930s. This transformation is an example of the recent shift to an agri-food system in China, in which profits primarily accrue with agricultural processers and distributers. The talk argued that the increasing dominance of capital in the agricultural sector marks the end of the Reform Period.

Does Investment-Induced Stress Drive Demand for Health Insurance? Evidence from China
Feb. 28, 2020
Presenter: Jianren Xu, Assistant Professor, University of North Texas
Volatile stock market leads to substantial mental stress among investors that adversely affects their health. Using a proprietary policy-level data from a large insurance company in China, we find that large daily stock market fluctuations drive the demand for health insurance policies, with a stronger effect when the market drops than when it rises.

Remaking the Future in Socialist China: The Campaign Against Fortune Telling
Feb. 21, 2020
Presenter: Emily Baum, Associate Professor of Modern Chinese History, University of California, Irvine
This talk examined the campaign to suppress fortune telling in the early PRC, and argued that the ultimate goal of the movement was to replace individual metaphysics with a Party-sanctioned materialism – one that bound the wellbeing of the individual to the collective prosperity of the nation.

From Click to Boom: The Political Economy of E-Commerce in China
Feb. 14, 2020
Presenter: Lizhi Liu, Assistant Professor in the McDonough School of Business and faculty affiliate of the Department of Government, Georgetown University
This talk was an overview of Liu's research on China's e-commerce market. In the talk, she discussed how and why China's e-commerce boom is not merely a technology shock. Rather, the rise of China's e-commerce market has brought profound economic and institutional changes in China. 

State Formation and Bureaucratization: Evidence from Pre-Imperial China
Jan. 6, 2020
Presenter: Joy Chen, Assistant Professor of Economics, Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business
The Chinese empire, one of the earliest states to develop a centralized bureaucracy, can provide useful insights. Using hand-collected data, I presented the first systematic evidence on patterns of warfare and state-building in pre-imperial China.

The Political Consequences of the U.S.-China Trade War: Understanding the Chinese Public Reaction
Jan. 10, 2020
Presenter: David A. Steinberg, Associate Professor of International Political Economy, Johns Hopkins University
How has America’s recent shift away from free-trade policies affected worldwide support for an open international economy? This paper argues that the adoption of protectionist policies reduces public support for free trade in foreign countries.

Data, Autocracies, and the Direction of Innovation: Evidence from China’s Facial Recognition AI Industry
Jan. 17, 2020
Presenter: David Yang, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, Harvard University
We examined China’s facial recognition firms who receive data from the Chinese government by providing public security services. We find that service provision with the government puts the firms on a different path in data-intensive innovation, resulting in more product development in commercial sector that relies on accessing the data held by the government.

Bare Branches and Bare Necessities
Jan. 24, 2020
Presenter: John James Kennedy, Professor of Political Science, University of Kansas
Bare Branches (guanggun) or involuntary bachelors in China is a current and historical phenomenon that reflects a lack of marriageable age women in society. This current research explores the social and political implications of bare branches in China today especially after 35 years of the single child policy (1980-2015) and the resulting gender imbalance.

A World Safe For Autocracy? China’s Rise and The Future of Global Politics
Jan. 29, 2020
Presenter: Jessica Chen Weiss, Associate Professor of Government, Cornell University
China is simultaneously a revisionist, reformer, innovator, and defender of the status quo—insisting rigidly on issues that are central to its domestic survival, while showing flexibility on issues that are more peripheral. To understand this variation, Weiss develops a framework to illuminate China's approach to global governance, homeland issues including Taiwan and Hong Kong, and the spread of authoritarian practices and democratic corrosion.

2019

Reserving Space for Pandas and People: Research in the Field of Panda Nation
Nov. 15, 2019
Presenter: E. Elena Songster, Associate Professor of History, Saint Mary's College of California
E. Elena Songster (宋雅蘭) is the author of "Panda Nation: The Construction and Conservation of China's Modern Icon" and spoke about the evolution of her project through her field experience, the interdisciplinarity of research on environment-related topics, and the centrality of people in the study of history, especially in the history of China.

Illiberal Law and Development: Land Rights in Contemporary China
Nov. 22, 2019
Presenter: Susan Whiting, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Washington, Seattle
China’s experience with economic and political development presents two enduring puzzles. First, the Chinese case is puzzling in light of institutional economics’ claim that secure property rights and rule of law are prerequisites for economic growth. While China’s property rights are widely regarded as insecure and rule of law as weak, the country has a record of sustained economic growth. I argued that, in the context of technological transition—here, from agriculture to industry—a legal system that facilitates the re-assignment of property rights, making certain rights less secure, plays an important and under-theorized role in promoting economic growth. Specifically, the ability to re-assign land rights from lower-value to higher-value uses is crucial. Second, China’s authoritarian regime is puzzling in its ability to endure despite the intense conflict generated by the re-assignment of land rights away from one set of actors to another. State land takings are one of the greatest sources of popular unrest in recent decades. This research shows that the legal system not only facilitates re-assignment of property rights but also channels conflicts over insecure property rights away from state actors. The legal system plays an important role in managing conflict generated by state actions.

Static Electricity: Institutional and Ideational Barriers to China’s “Market” Reforms
Nov. 8, 2019
Presenter: Michael Davidson, Assistant Professor, School of Global Policy and Strategy, UC San Diego
This talk focused on the electricity sector, where national market reform plans were reinvigorated in 2015. We demonstrate that reforms to this sector have failed to achieve certain goals of the center – notably a national market for electricity – not due to overriding “state-capitalist” norms in Beijing but, rather, as a result of institutional barriers and ideational inconsistencies among the center, local governments, and third party grid actors.

Everywhere and Nowhere: The Curious Case of Furniture in Mao's China
Nov. 1, 2019
Presenter: Jennifer Altehenger, Associate Professor of Chinese History and Jessica Rawson Fellow in Modern Asian History, University of Oxford and Merton College
Objects of all kind shaped life during the Mao period. Many of these have been studied in some detail, from propaganda posters and books to bicycles, thermoses, TV sets, brand pens, and radios. Yet we know much less about other objects such as crockery, cutlery, furniture, or non-branded writing utensils (to name only a few examples), even though these were often equally if not more important to daily life across the country. This talk examined the history of furniture design, manufacture, sales and rental, as well as use and re-use during the first three decades of CCP rule.

Holding back Democratic Diffusion: China’s Strategic Manipulation of Domestic Perceptions of Democracy
Oct. 18, 2019
Presenter: Patrick Chester, Political Science Ph.D. Candidate, New York University
In this paper, I argue that autocracies, like China, have a powerful incentive to use their control over state media to portray democratic reforms abroad in a negative light in order to dissuade its own citizens from demanding similar reforms.

Bringing Umbrellas Indoors: Why and How Participants of the Umbrella Movement Ran in Authoritarian Elections
Oct. 11, 2019
Presenter: John Chit Wai Mok, Sociology Ph.D. Candidate, UC Irvine
Drawing on interviews with the Umbrella candidates and campaign assistants, this paper argues that after being politicized by the occupation, those candidates utilized the authoritarian elections to extend their challenge.

Implicit Political Trust in China
Sept. 27, 2019 
Presenter: Haifeng Huang, Associate Professor of Political Science, UC Merced
The high levels of trust expressed by the Chinese people in their government often invites skepticism about the authenticity of survey results. Using a variant of the Implicit Association Test, a common method for measuring attitudes that people are either unwilling or unable to report, we find that Chinese respondents implicitly trust government and that it is unrelated to explicit (self-reported) trust.

Vietnam as China’s Path Not Taken: A Theory of Authoritarian Legislative Institutionalization
May 31, 2019
Presenter: Paul Schuler, Assistant Professor of Political Science, the University of Arizona
Vietnam and China’s legislatures have evolved differently. Where legislatures in both countries once rarely met, the Vietnam National Assembly now meets two months a year, conducts confidence votes, and holds biannual query sessions. The Chinese National People’s Congress performs none of these functions. Despite the growing interest in authoritarian institutions, existing theories do not explain these divergent trends.

Autonomy in Autocracy: Explaining Ethnic Policies in China
May 17, 2019
Presenter: Chao-Yo Cheng, Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science, University of California Los Angeles
Why do autocrats grant institutional accommodation to subordinate ethnic groups? With a focus on post-1949 China, I argued that ethnic local autonomy allows the central leader to establish his supremacy over subnational political forces while countering his rivals within the central leadership.

The Political Beliefs of Chinese Officials
May 10, 2019
Presenter: Greg Distelhorst, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto
What are the stated beliefs of officials in China’s single-party regime? Can these authoritarian elites express different views on policy, and if so, do their disagreements reflect deeper ideological orientations?

Leverage and Loopholes: WTO Entry and the Two Faces of Chinese State Activism
May 3, 2019
Presenter: Yeling Tan, Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Oregon.
This paper examines why, although entry into the WTO was designed to bind China closer to the international order, some parts of the state enacted more liberalizing reforms than others.

Activating China: Local Actors, Foreign Influence, and State Response
April 12, 2019
Presenter: Setsuko Matsuzawa, Associate Professor of Sociology, The College of Wooster
Activating China challenges the typical understanding that global forces shape local outcomes. Setsuko Matsuzawa studied Chinese activists, researchers and government officials as they collaborate with foreign NGOs for transnational advocacy efforts.

Growth of Chinese Conglomerates
April 3, 2019 
Presenter: Chang-Tai Hsieh, Phyllis and Irwin Winkelried Professor of Economics, University of Chicago
We used data on owners of the universe of Chinese firms to document the following facts about the largest Chinese firms from 1995 to 2015. 

The Political Economy Consequences of China's Export Slowdown
March 15, 2019 
Presenter: Davin Chor, Associate Professor, Tuck School of Business; Globalization Chair, Dartmouth University
We examine the recent downturn in China’s export performance and how this has affected domestic political outcomes. In particular, we describe evidence that links the export slowdown to a rise in incidents of labor-related protests at the local prefecture level.

Railroads and the Transformation of China: Moving People, Goods, and Ideas
March 8, 2019 
Presenter: Elisabeth Köll, William Payden Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Notre Dame
Based on her new book, Köll discusses the development of railroads as business and administrative institutions in China from the late nineteenth century to the reform period of the post-Mao years.

A Comparative Guide to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
Feb. 5, 2019 
Presenter: Natalie Lichtenstein, Former Inaugural General Counsel, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
In a text that will appeal to general readers and legal specialists alike, Natalie Lichtenstein examines the Bank's mandate, investment operations, finance, governance, and institutional set up, as well as providing detailed analyses of the similarities and differences it has with other development banks - charting AIIB's story so far and anticipating its future.

Meritocracy, Decentralization, and Local Dual Leadership: Theory and Historical Evidence
Feb. 1, 2019 
Presenter: Weijia Li, Professor of Economics, Monash University
Asian states enjoy a long history of strong bureaucratic capacity. These competent, autonomous bureaucracies form the backbone of “the Asian Economic Miracle”. To better understand the historical origins of bureaucratic capacity, I applied textual analysis techniques to original Chinese historical records and construct a novel dataset tracing the evolution of bureaucratic capacity for over 1,300 years.

State Power and Famine: The Consequences of Mao’s Great Leap Forward (1959-61)
Jan. 25, 2019 
Presenter: Elizabeth Gooch, Assistant Professor of Economics, Naval Postgraduate School
I analyzed the relationship between terrain ruggedness in China and political attitudes in the late 1950s in determining the Great Leap Famine (1959-61) and showed when provincial authorities’ politics more closely mirrored Mao Zedong’s, then their constituents located in accessible areas suffered relatively higher famine mortality than those located in rugged terrain. I estimated that ruggedness protected an estimated 4.6 million Chinese from dying in the famine. I verified that these relative differences are not driven by omitted variable, spillovers, or endogeneity problems, and argued they arise because of difference in the implementation of Great Leap Forward policies, reflecting state power at the time. I also provided evidence that the Great Leap Forward policies impaired subsequent economic development through channels apart from the intermediate famine disaster. 

Is There Elite Resistance to Xi Jinping's Power Concentration? How, Why, and What It Means?
Jan. 18, 2019 
Presenter: Guoguang Wu, Professor of Political Science, Professor of History, and Chair in China & Asia-Pacific Relations at the University of Victoria, Canada
President Xi Jinping’s power concentration has achieved a remarkable success since he came to power in 2012, as he is now often portraited China’s “new emperor.” How to assess and analyze the success, however, is still a challenge to comprehending China’s political development in both terms of leadership politics and state-society relations.

2018

"Rotating to the Top: How Career Tracks Matter in the Chinese Communist Party"
Nov. 30, 2018
Presenter: Ruixue Jia, Assistant Professor of Economics, GPS; Yiqing Xu, Assistant Professor, Political Science, UC San Diego
This paper takes a novel perspective on the selection of leaders in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) by focusing on career tracks of high-level CCP officials. Career tracks are defined as clusters of similar career trajectories with respect to both vertical and horizontal movements. We measured career tracks of full and alternate CCP Central Committee members from 1982 to 2017 using machine learning techniques and investigate their role in political selection. 

"When Autocrats Threaten Citizens With Violence: Evidence from China"
Nov. 16, 2018 
Presenter: Erin Baggott Carter, Assistant Professor, School of International Relations, University of Southern California
When do autocrats employ their propaganda apparatuses to threaten citizens with violence? And do these threats condition citizen behavior? We developed a theory of propaganda-based threats in autocracies that builds on insights from experimental psychology. Since threats of violence are employed sparingly, we also expect them to be effective. We tested the theory with data from China, the world’s most populous autocracy.

"Mediating the Message: Book Culture and Propaganda in Mao’s China, 1974-1976"
Nov. 15, 2018
Presenter: Matthew Wills, Ph.D. Candidate in Modern Chinese History, UC San Diego
Scholarship on the twentieth century book focuses on those produced in a commercial context; from an overall prospect, however, in the twentieth century far more books were published for political purposes than for profit. The Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda state used the medium of the book to enshrine, reproduce, and disseminate political narratives. This talk explored how publishers manipulated the format of books to further their propaganda agenda, and how historians must recognize how reproductive technologies sometimes tied the hands of propaganda producers.  

"Autocratic Rule and Social Capital: Evidence from Imperial China"
Nov. 2, 2018 
Presenter: Melanie Meng Xue, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Economics & Center for Economic History, Northwestern University
This paper explored the impact of autocratic rule on social capital, defined as the attitudes, beliefs, norms, and perceptions that support cooperation. Political repression is a distinguishing characteristic of autocratic regimes. Between 1661-1788, individuals in imperial China were persecuted if they were suspected of holding subversive attitudes towards the state. A difference-in-differences approach suggests that in an average prefecture, exposure to political repression led to a decline of 38% in local charities: a key proxy of social capital. Taking advantage of institutional variation in 20th century China, and using two instrumental variables, we provide further evidence that political repression permanently reduced social capital.

"Erosion of State Power and the Political Boundaries of Corruption"
Oct. 5, 2018
Presenter: Yang XIE, Assistant Professor of Economics, UC Riverside
What is the connection between corruption and the state apparatus in an autocracy? We built a model emphasizing the corrosive effect of corruption on state power. Under general assumptions about fat-tailed risk, we showed that the optimal response for an autocratic ruler is an endogenous lexicographic rule whereby the corruption level is maintained at an upper boundary such that no erosion of state power is tolerated. The model was then applied to the reality of crony capitalism and the party-state in China where corruption has become a central issue since Xi Jinping came to power.

"Bring Down the Gentry: The Abolition of Exam, Local Governance and anti-gentry uprisings, 1902-1911"
Sept. 4, 2018
Presenter: Yu HAO, Assistant Professor, School of Economics, Peking University
This paper tested the impact of abolition of civil service exam in 1905 on local governance in rural China. Before the abolition, lower exam title holders (lower gentry) provided public services at local level, on their path towards obtaining higher status and holding official positions. It highlighted the importance of long-run incentives in improving the selection and incentive of public agents. This paper also contributed to the literature discussing the impacts of abolition of exam on social stability and deep driving forces of Chinese revolution in the 20th century. 

"Cultural Sensibility and Habitual Following: State Censorship and its influence during the Cultural Revolution”
June 4, 2018
Presenter: Peidong Sun, Associate Professor of History at Fudan University; current national fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
This paper studied the dynamic relationship between censorship and readership in the cultural governance of China at the end of the era of high socialism. Using previously untapped CCP documents, private archival collections, oral history, personal and work journals, I examined the motivation, mechanism, impact, and evolution of state censorship on personal readings during the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976). 

“Curriculum and National Identity: Evidence from the 1997 Textbook Reform in Taiwan”
June 1, 2018
Presenter: Wei-Lin Chen, Ph.D Candidate, UC San Diego Department of Economics
Could education content casually affect students’ national identity? We exploit the sharp junior high school textbook reform which introduced large amount of Taiwan-related materials, using regression discontinuity design to tease out the society trend and cohort effect.

“Band of Rivals: Career Incentives, Elite Competition, and Economic Growth in China”
May 18, 2018
Presenter: Jonghyuk Lee, Department of Political Science, University of California, San Diego
This paper addresses the question of how bureaucratic incentives affect economic performance in China at the provincial level. This paper develops a novel model to measure promotion incentives of the Chinese provincial standing committee members from 1995 to 2015. Using machine learning to incorporate dozens of features of individual officials, this paper derives a predicted probability of political advancement (i.e. prior likelihood of promotion) as a proxy to evaluate one’s career prospects.

“Does Enterprise Risk Management Spur Corporate Innovation?”
May 11, 2018
Presenter: Jianren Xu, Assistant Professor, College of Business, University of North Texas
Prior research on enterprise risk management (ERM) focuses on its impact on the financial services sector and its financial implications. Yet, how does ERM affect the real economy? ERM has been shown to reduce various types of firm risk. However, does it encourage firms to strategically increase risk to take opportunities for possible gains in the long-run? This study answers these questions by examining a homogeneous sample of S&P 500 firms, investigating whether ERM enhances corporate innovation.

"Foreign Real Estate Investment and Incumbent Party Support in the United States"
May 4, 2018 
Presenter: Steven Liao, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of California Riverside
This study explores how Chinese investments in U.S. residential property shaped support for the incumbent party. I argue that foreign real estate investment affects incumbent support in two competing ways—the economic benefits of higher home prices increase support while heightened nativism provokes opposition.

"Production, Gender, and the Everyday: the Urban Commune Movement in Beijing"
May 3, 2018 
Presenter: Fabio Lanza, Associate Professor of History, University of Arizona
This paper analyzes attempts by Chinese leaders and activists to produce radical transformation of the quotidian at the time of the Great Leap Forward.

"Saving Meritocracy? China’s Anti-Corruption Campaign"
April 27, 2018 
Presenter: Peter Lorentzen, Department of Economics, University of San Francisco 
China’s unique system of hiring and promoting talented people within the state, under the supervision of the Communist Party, has been held up as an important institutional factor supporting its remarkably rapid and sustained economic growth. We explore this meritocracy argument in the context of Chinese leader Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption campaign.

"How Propaganda Works"
April 20, 2018 
Presenter: Rory Truex, Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University
This paper shows that a common form of ``hard" propaganda-- when an actor engages in obvious self-aggrandizement-- can shift implicit attitudes by pairing the actor with positive attributes.

"Historical Ownership, Territorial Indivisibility, and International Conflict"
April 12, 2018 
Presenter: Songying Fang, Department of Political Science, Rice University
Some of the most enduring and dangerous territorial disputes often involve claims of historical ownership by at least one side of a dispute. Does historical ownership lead to more hardened bargaining positions? If it does, why?

"A King’s two Bodies? Mao’s Death and his Legacy"
April 6, 2018 
Presenter: Barbara Mittler, Chair in Chinese Studies, Institute of Chinese Studies, University of Heidelberg
Mao had been China’s leader for longer than anyone had ever led a major nation in modern times. Hundreds of millions of Chinese had no memory of a China without him. Despite widespread dismay at his recent politics, Mao was difficult to deny.

"How dangerous is the Taiwan Strait?  Thinking through the prospects for conflict and peace in China-Taiwan relations."
March 9, 2018
Presenter: Scott Kastner, Professor, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland, College Park
After several years of detente, relations between Taiwan and the People's Republic of China (PRC) are more hostile today than they have been in years. To what degree should observers worry about the possibility of military conflict in the Taiwan Strait?

"Local Citizenship Regimes in China: Economic Development and the Household Registration System"
March 2, 2018
Presenter: Samantha Addie Vortherms, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, UC Irvine
Why do governments choose to integrate some populations into the local citizenry while excluding others? Using an original nation-wide database of local-citizenship membership regulations, population data, and data on the state-owned economy, I analyze the relative impact of political and economic determinants of domestic immigration regulations.

"Feel the Burn: Regulation and impact of straw burning in China"
Feb. 23, 2018Presenter: Tong Liu, Ph.D. Candidate, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
This study investigates the impact of straw burning on health in China. Using straw burning as an instrument for air pollution, we find that an increase in PM2.5 by 10 µg/m3 is associated with 3.25% increase of all deaths. We further evaluate the regulation on straw burning and find that government subsidies can be more effective than command-and-control policies in restraining straw burning.

“China’s Energy Transition and Carbon Peak”
Feb 21, 2018
Presenter: Qi Ye, Director, Brookings-Tsinghua Center for Public Policy
QI Ye (
齐晔) is a leading expert on China’s environmental policy. His research focuses on China’s policies on climate change, environment, energy, natural resources, and urbanization. His recent work examines low carbon development in China, including an annual report analyzing how China is balancing its economic growth and environmental challenges.

"All-Around Trade Liberalization and Firm-Level Employment: Theory and Evidence from China"
Feb. 12, 2018
Presenter: Miaojie Yu, Professor, China Center for Economic Research (CCER), Peking University
Using novel firm‐level tariff data for trading Chinese manufacturing firms from 2000 to 2006, this paper disentangles the effects of each type of trade liberalization on Chinese firm‐level employment. To guide the interpretation of the results, we develop a heterogeneous‐firm model with trade in both tasks and final goods that identifies the different forces through which each type of trade liberalization affects employment in each type of firm.

"Is Policy Innovation Possible Under the Xi Jinping Regime?"
Feb. 2, 2018
Presenter: Reza Hasmath, Professor in Political Science, University of Alberta
Despite playing a key contributory role in China’s recent economic reforms and the Party’s regime durability, there has been a noted reduction in central-level policy experimentation under Xi Jinping’s administration. Recent studies have further noted an empirical reduction in policy innovation at the subnational level, and question whether local officials will continue to experiment in the foreseeable future.

"Firms under Fire: Market Liberalization, Commercial Interests, and China's Economic Statecraft toward North Korea"
Jan. 19, 2018
Presenter: Xiaojun Li, Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of British Columbia
We investigate the universe of every firm-level transaction of imports and exports between China and North Korea from 2000-2007. Preliminary analysis shows that SOEs and private firms follow different logics in their trade with North Korea. These findings cast doubt on the popular belief that China’s trade with North Korea is politically driven and will have important policy implications for the international community.

"Shaking Hands in Public - Co-Appearances of Political Elites in Opaque Regimes"
Jan. 12, 2018
Presenter: Franziska Barbara Keller, Assistant Professor, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Division of Social Science
Using social network analysis on a dataset of 19,000 appearances of 300 top Chinese officials from 2003 until 2014, we show that while public co-appearances are indeed determined by structural factors such as an elite's official position and their policy portfolio, it also reflects patronage networks.

2017

"Long-Run Persistence and Interrupted Development: Evidence from The Imperial Civil Service Examination in Historical China"
Dec. 1, 2017
Presenter: Clair Zhuqing Yang, Assistant Professor, The Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington
Using historical data from the Qing dynasty (1645-1912) to trace the persistence, I show that the impact of Ming civil service exams tends to weaken during periods of political centralization and to re-emerge following liberalization.

"The Third Front and Maoist Experiments in Political Economy"
Nov. 20, 2017
This seminar brought together leading scholars on the history of the Third Front, China’s search for an alternative model of economic development that focused on industrializing its less developed interior regions during the Mao era. Professor Covell Meyskens discussed his forthcoming book on the topic, followed by a response by Professor Barry Naughton.

"An Ethnographer’s Odyssey: Researching China in Zambia"
Nov. 17, 2017
This seminar reconstructs the research processes and challenges that shaped the fieldwork and writing of my book "The Specter of Global China." I will discuss issues that are fundamental to the production of sociological knowledge and give participants a grounded, hands-on, and realistic look at academic research grappling with the Global China phenomenon.

"Can Trade Prevent Conflict with China? Trade Interdependence and Chinese Foreign Policy"
Oct. 31, 2017
Presenter: Jiakun Jack Zhang, Ph.D Candidate, Department of Political Science, UC San Diego
Contrary to the conventional wisdom that commerce brings peace, China appears to engage in more militarized disputes with its neighbors and trade partners despite deepening economic integration. My research suggests this is because increased trade raises the cost of war but also incentivizes risky military behavior short of the threshold of war.

"State Capacity and Economic Development under Capital Mobility"
Oct. 13, 2017
Presenter: Xiaoxue Zhao, Postdoctoral Associate, Yale University Department of Economics
This paper examines the effects of fiscal capacity on local states’ market-supporting investment and overall economic development. We build a simple model of capital competition among units with heterogeneous tax enforcement costs, and rely on the Golden Tax Project.

"Crushing the Princelings' Deal: Anti-corruption Campaigns in China"
Oct. 6, 2017
Presenter: Ting Chen, Postdoctoral Fellow, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology
This study explores the favor trading between China’s princelings and the local government officials. By analyzing a unique data of over a million land transactions, we confirm that by selling land to firms connected to the princelings at lower than the market price, the local officials have managed to increase their promotion prosperity significantly.

"Investigating Rural Literacy Education Efforts in New China, 1949-2000"
May 30, 2017
Presenter: MA Yun, Associate Professor of Education History, Shanghai University of Electric Power
This study discusses literacy education efforts made in rural China to accommodate rural students over four periods since the founding of the PRC in 1949. These materials allow Professor Ma to reveal the actual educational conditions for farmers in different periods and identify the critical junctures that explain the profound changes in literacy education in China.

"The Economic Consequences of Political Disloyalty: An Experimental Study of Ideological Allegiance in China’s Labor Market"
May 26, 2017
Presenter: Jennifer Pan, Assistant Professor, Department of Communication, Stanford University
The study of symbolic politics has receive relatively little attention in recent years. However, symbolic politics continue to feature prominently in many non- democratic regimes. We experimentally assess the importance of symbolic displays of ideological loyalty on economic outcomes with a resume audit study in China.

"The Formation of the Communist Base in Shaanxi"
May 23, 2017 
Presenter: Joseph W. Esherick, Professor Emeritus of History, UC San Diego
Since he first conducted archival and field work in Shaanxi in 1988-89, Esherick has been seeking to understand the origins and growth of the revolutionary movement in the province. In this talk, he will explore the earliest stages of that movement—prior to the arrival of Mao in 1935, in order to understand the social, political and military origins of the Chinese revolution.

"Something in the Air: Projection Bias and the Demand for Health Insurance"
May 12, 2017
Presenter: WANG Yongxiang, Associate Professor of Finance, University of Southern California
Using data on insurance contracts from one of China’s largest insurance companies, we find that daily air pollution levels have a significant effect on the decision to purchase or cancel health insurance in a manner inconsistent with rational choice theory.

"The Anatomy of Chinese Business Groups: A Hierarchical Network Analysis" 
May 5, 2017
Presenter: Loren Brandt, Professor of Economics, University of Toronto
Drawing on a unique data source--the business registry of the State Administration of Industry and Commerce in China--this paper examines the nature of the hierarchy of China’s leading state-owned and private business groups in China for the period between 2003-2014.

"The Case against Law: A Historical and Institutional Approach to Local Disputes in the Qing Dynasty"
April 28, 2017
Presenter: Maura Dykstra, Assistant Professor of History, Caltech
Abstract: New research has employed previously unexploited sources to illustrate the local practice of law in the late Chinese empire. This paper posits that the discoveries of historians working in local archives should not be studied only within the framework of the law but rather by beginning with an understanding of the way that court cases were handled within the bureaucratic system of the empire.

"The Clash of Capitalisms? Chinese Companies in the United States"
April 27, 2017
Presenter: Ji Li, Associate Professor of Law, Rutgers Law School
Surging Chinese investment in the United States has generated intense debates, many of which revolve around two important yet under-explored questions. One, will Chinese companies engage in rampant noncompliance as in China or adapt to the U.S. institutional setting? Two, does state ownership in Chinese investors make a difference?

"Does China’s Anti-Monopoly Law Enforcement have an Anti-Foreign Bias?"
April 21, 2017
Presenters: Jack Zhang, PhD Candidate and Jessica Yingjie Fan, Political Science, UC San Diego
Since China’s anti-monopoly law (AML) came into effect in 2008, foreign companies have alleged that they are being disproportionately targeted by enforcement authorities, which Chinese regulars deny. This paper represents first effort to systematically study AML enforcement patterns using a new dataset of cases.

“The Art of Authoritarian Control in Rural China”
April 14, 2017
Presenter: Daniel Mattingly, Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University
How do authoritarian regimes control the rural hinterland? I argue that village self-government and communal institutions, such as lineage and temple groups, do not strengthen bottom-up accountability; instead, they strengthen top-down authoritarian control.

"Media Bias in China"
March 17, 2017
Presenter: Yanhui WU, Assistant Professor of Finance and Business Economics, Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California
Media in China are owned by governments with a politico-economic dual goal. Theoretically, we argue that vertical competition between governments for economic benefits should erode their political goals. We measure media bias defined as the weight placed on political goals in Chinese newspapers by analyzing the content of 117 mainstream newspapers in China from 1999 to 2010.

“Forget Chineseness: On the Geopolitics of Cultural Identification”
March 10, 2017
Presenter: Allen CHUN, Research Fellow, Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica (Taiwan)
“Forget Chineseness” critiques the idea of a Chinese cultural identity and argues that such identities are instead determined by geopolitical and economic forces.

"Machine Learning: An Historian's Guide to Reading Keyboards, Code, and other Technological Objects"
Feb. 24, 2017
Presenter: Tom Mullaney, Associate Professor of Chinese History, Stanford University
Historians are well-versed in the analysis of texts and other documentary forms of evidence. Material objects - and particularly technological objects - are far less commonly used. When they are used, scholars too often treat them as "metaphors," failing to develop the kinds of technical fluencies one requires to grasp how these objects "work" in a precise way.

"Measuring Subjectivity in History Textbooks"
Feb. 17, 2017
Presenter: Onyi LAM, Ph.D Candidate, Department of Economics, UC San Diego
History textbooks provide a lens through which students view the nation's past. Government, especially that of authoritarian regime, has an incentive to present biased content in the history textbook to influence students' political views. This paper considers the problem of measuring subjectivity for history textbooks used in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

"Public Debt and Private Investment in China"
Feb. 14, 2017
Presenter: Yi HUANG, Professor of International Economics, The Graduate Institute (Geneva)
High levels of public debt are correlated with lower economic growth across countries, but questions remain about whether this relationship is causal. Using Chinese data, this column explores whether increasing public debt crowds out private investment.

"Revolution and its Narratives: Socialist Literary and Cultural Imaginaries in China, 1950-1966"
Jan. 19, 2017
Presenter: Rebecca KARL, Associate Professor of History, New York University
Published in China in 2010, "Revolution and Its Narratives" is a historical, literary, and critical account of the cultural production of the narratives of China's socialist revolution. Translated, annotated, and edited by Rebecca E. Karl and Xueping Zhong, this translation presents Cai Xiang's influential work to English-language readers for the first time.

"The short life of successful fiscal reform in 18th Century China"
Jan. 13, 2017
Presenter: Yu HAO, Assistant Professor, School of Economics, Peking University
This paper examines the impact of a nationwide fiscal reform called Huohaoguigong on state capacity and public goods supply in the eighteenth century in China.

2016

"Local Patterns of Industrialization in China"
Oct. 28, 2016
Presenter: Jessica Leight, Assistant Professor of Economics, Williams College
Abstract: This paper analyzes patterns of structural transformation in rural China using a newly assembled panel of county-level data, including approximately 2,000 counties in China between 2000 to 2010. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that capital constraints are important in counties that are initially less industrialized. In these counties, which have limited access to external credit to fund investment in new productive sectors, the primary source of capital is re-investment from agriculture. In turn, there are potentially significant complementarities between non-agricultural and agricultural shocks.

"Beyond Skill: Daoism and Science"
Oct. 24, 2016
Presenter: JIANG Sheng, Professor of Chinese History at Sichuan University
Abstract: Is Daoism for science? The key to the question is the drive for religious life: immortalization. And the key is a double-edged sword. Based on 18 years of research into Daoist texts, archaeological materials and collection of remains of ancient Daoism in mountains, and theoretical reflections, this lecture will demonstrate that it is certain that Daoism pushed science and technical knowledge forward in ancient times.

"Is there a Chinese Model of Legal Reform?"
Oct. 20, 2016
Presenter: Benjamin Liebman, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Chinese Legal Studies, Columbia Law School
Abstract: Over the past two years, China has launched some of the most significant legal reforms in decades. At the same time, significant doubt remains regarding China's leadership's commitment to rule of law values. In his remarks,  Liebman will outline recent developments in legal reform in China and will discuss their implications for understanding and conceptualizing legal development in China.

"中国近代史研究的趋向" (Presentation in Mandarin)
Oct. 5, 2016
Presenter: XU Xiuli 徐秀丽, Professor, Department of Economic History; Editor in Chief, Modern Chinese History Studies (近代史研究); Journal of Modern Chinese History (Routledge); Institute of Modern History, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS)

Panel from Fudan University School of Economics
Oct. 6, 2016 | 12-2 p.m. | Social Science Building 107
Presenters: CHEN Dazhong, Professor of Economics and Deputy Dean, Fudan University: “Does China's OBOR Initiative has Robust Value Chain Basis?”
Changyuan LUO, Professor, Center for European Studies, Fudan University: “The Economic Value of Country Image: Evidence from International Trade”
Guobing SHEN, Professor of World Economy & International Finance, Fudan University: “Exchange Rate Changes and the Promotion of Technology Structure of China’s Export of Ordinary Trade Products to the U.S.”

"China’s Urban Migration and Social Integration"
June 10, 2016
Presenter: Dr. Yuan REN, Professor of Demography and Urban Studies, School of Social Development and Public Policy (SSDPP), Fudan University
Abstract: Since the reform and opening up in the 1980s, China has undergone rapid migration and urbanization. The number of internal migrants in urban China increased from around 6 million in 1980s to 226 million in 2010 based on census statistics. Serious social exclusion of migrants is a typical issue of urban social development, and this exclusion and inequality lead to only “nominal” urbanization, separation of family members of migrants, unstable labor supply and decreasing capacity for future industrial and social development. Therefore, social integration of migrants has become an important social policy goal in China’s current social transition and welfare institution construction. Based on his research in recent years, Professor Ren presented his findings on migrants’ social integration and welfare institution reforms in China.

"U.S., China, and East Asian Regionalism – is the Pacific Wide Enough?"
April 22, 2016
Presenter: Dr. TANG Shiping, Professor, School of International Relations and Public Affairs (SIRPA), Fudan University; Visiting Scholar at UC San Diego
Abstract: A gap within the existing literature on regionalism is that it has yet to bring together intra- and inter- regional bargaining. By this, we mean that regional initiatives operate in the shadow of extra-regional great powers. Utilizing a simple game theoretical model, this project brings together intra- and inter- regional bargaining. Our discussion shows that the interaction between regional great powers, small-to-medium states within a region, and extra-regional great powers has played a critical though under-appreciated role in shaping the outcomes of different regionalism projects. With such a framework in hand, we then go on to discuss the interaction between U.S., China, and East Asian states within East Asian regionalism and explore possible conditions for U.S. and China to reach some kind of strategic accommodation between them.

"China’s Grassroots Courts - A Sociological Perspective"
April 8, 2016
Presenter: Dr. Kwai Ng, Associate Professor of Sociology, UC San Diego
Abstract: This talk presents an overview of the Chinese courts today from the perspective of a sociologist. Specifically, it explores how the Chinese courts are institutionally empowered by but also subjugated to the influences of different social forces - political, economic, and social. The talk also outlines a growing gap between the courts in big cities and their rural counterparts. It ends by exploring the various challenges facing the Chinese courts ahead, in particular, the challenge of retaining young judges working in urban cities.

"Career Incentive and Resource Allocation in China"
March 18, 2016
Presenter: Jongyuk Lee, Ph.D. candidate in political science and international affairs, UC San Diego
Abstract: In a federalist system without constitutional guarantees, aligning the incentives of local leaders with those of the central government may prevent local authorities from being vulnerable to corruption, rent-seeking activities, overprotectionism, and so on. While it is well established how career-incentivized local leaders in China meet the center’s goals such as economic development, there have been few attempts to examine the consequences of this career-based institution for local governance. This dissertation addresses this issue: how career concerns give local leaders an incentive to pursue a certain policy choice that may or may not benefit the public welfare and how these individual motivations are limited by collective local leadership. This paper finds out that Chinese provincial governments dominated by careerincentivized leaders were likely to promote more investments and provide less public goods and services.

"Microfinance Can Raise Incomes: Evidence from a Randomized Control Trial in China"
March 4, 2016
Presenter: Dr. Albert Park, Professor of Economics, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology
Abstract: This study evaluates China’s national village banking program in poor villages based on a randomized control trial conducted in 5 provinces. In contrast to recent studies that fail to find evidence that microfinance programs increase incomes, we find large and significant intention-to-treat impacts of the program on household per capita income and poverty. Households in treatment villages borrow more for production, plant more cash crops, invest more in husbandry farming, and are much more likely to have members who out-migrate for wage employment. We assess possible reasons for why microfinance impacts are greater in China as well as implications for China’s economic development.

"Chinese Business under Authoritarianism, The Long View"
Feb. 26, 2016
Presenter: Dr. Brett Sheehan, Professor, Department of History, Director, East Asian Studies Center, University of Southern California
Abstract: Except for brief and often marginal experiments with democracy, authoritarian governments have ruled China for the last two hundred years. Those regimes have differed considerably, however, as has the nature of Chinese business and the relationship of business to the state. Expanding on research in Industrial Eden: A Chinese Capitalist Vision, this talk will discuss business relations with seven successive authoritarian regimes which have ruled China over the last two centuries: the late Qing dynasty, warlords, the Nationalists, Japanese occupation during World War II, the postwar Nationalists, the People’s Republic of China under Mao, and the People’s republic of China in the years since Mao’s death. In general, with some ups and downs, this period has seen increasing governmental interference in business as well as raising expectations by business people of state assistance for business and the economy. At the same time, Chinese businesses have often been able to work out accommodation with authoritarian regimes, and have produced little pressure for democratic political reform.

“Beyond Democracy: Deliberative Politics and its Significance in China”
Feb. 19, 2016
Presenter: Dr. HAN Fuguo 韩福国, Centre of Comparative Research in Urban Governance, Fudan University; Visiting Scholar, Stanford University
Abstract: As an authoritarian country, China faces the dilemma of allowing citizen participation and keeping such participation within bounds. One way that China has tried to work around this dilemma is through decentralization and encouraging local government innovation, especially in the economic area. Xi Jinping's administration regards deliberative participation as one approach to democratic development in China, as deliberation and expanded participation by citizens increases citizen knowledge and understanding about government policies, enhances their sense of efficacy, and improves the process of making public policies in China. In this paper I will use the example of participatory budgeting to explore the potential of implementing and expanding deliberation in China.

"The Party Adapts to Urban China: the Strategy, Structure and Performance of CCP Adaptation from a Strategic Management Perspective"
Feb. 12, 2016
Speaker: Dr. Zhang Han, lecturer, The University of International Business and Economics, Beijing
This paper applies the theories of organizational adaptation to the study of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) with the aim of explaining the CCP’s adaptation mechanism and process. It also uses the strategy-structure-performance model from strategic management to explain the adaptation of the CCP’s primary party organizations (PPOs) in urban China. The objectives of PPOs are to strengthen organizational performance, measured in terms of changes in party membership and activities. I find that the party’s urban PPOs may select one of three adaptation strategies, namely that of a defender, reactor and prospector, each of which is structurally constrained by the PPOs’ organizational and material capacity. The paper will also illuminate two processes by which the party adapts to the political ecosystem in the cities.
 
Zhang Han received his Ph.D. in sociology from The University of Hong Kong in December 2012. His main research areas are in urban studies, with special interests in urban redevelopment, governance and ethnography in China, and political sociology. He was a visiting scholar at the Harvard-Yenching Institute in 2010-2011, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Political Science at Tsinghua University from February 2013 to March 2015. He is currently a Lecturer in the School of International Relations, The University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) in Beijing.

2015

Dec. 11, 2015
"Making Marital Boundaries: How Chinese-Speaking Immigrant Parents Distinguish Marriageable Us from Undesirable Them"
Debate over which racial boundaries are dominant in the U.S. underscores the complexity of Asian American intermarriage resulting from national origin heterogeneity among Asian Americans. Focusing on the cognitive dimension of boundary-making, the author examines the marriageability perceptions of a group of Asian American immigrants and their American-born children to illustrate how their interpretations of ethnic and racial marriageability facilitate racial boundary formation. To better understand how marriageability perceptions are related to the U.S. racial divide, I constructed a conceptual framework, marital boundary-making, to describe how race, ethnicity, and nationality are perceived by both immigrant parents and children to distinguish marriageable “us” from undesirable “them.” Based on the qualitative data I collected from my study on marital boundary-making within Chinese-speaking immigrant families in San Diego, I found that although the parents' “marriageable” perceptions were inconsistent, their “undesirable” interpretations were essentially identical, evidence of a dominant black/non-black racial divide. However, the analysis also suggests that class plays a more important role than race and ethnicity in the unmaking of marital boundaries.

Dec. 4, 2015
"The Production of Queer Cyberspace & 'Tongzhi' Organizations in Mainland China"
Speaker: Jin Cao, director, Fudan University’s Center for International Publishing Studies
My speaking will focus on production of Queer cyberspace and the “Tongzhi” grass-root organization which started to emerge at the beginning of twenty-first century as one of alternative social organizations in Main land China’s transition. My interest in this topic started with a small project on the Shenlan working group in Tianjin. It has since developed into a more ambitious program of work , which includes investigations not only into similar “Tongzhi” grass-root organizations in other cities (Beijing, Tianjin, and Chengdu) ,but also the wider implications of the development this alternative grass-root organization and its involvement with a stigmatized and disadvantaged community group. The production of queer cyberspace will form the basis for more general reflections on the organization of civil society in contemporary China.

Nov. 20, 2015
“Arts of the Hui Minority People: Islam with Chinese Characteristics”
Speaker: Dr. Alex Stewart, department of sociology, UC San Diego
Over the course of 1300 years in China, descendants of Arab, Persian, and Central Asian merchants and mercenaries have developed a hybrid culture that is distinct from the Han Chinese majority, but still unique to China. The Hui people speak local dialects and are physically indistinguishable from the Han, but various arts and customs related to Islam make up a dynamic and unique culture. This talk is inspired by an exhibit of artifacts collected in Xining, Qinghai Province that is currently on display at the San Diego Chinese Historical Museum. Examining the foodways, garments, mosque construction, syncretic religious practices, and distinctive style of Arabic calligraphy on display in the exhibit outlines what it means to be Hui and this ethnic group's implications for the formation of transnational identities.

Nov. 6, 2015
“The Dubious Domestic Regulator: Why Imported Foods No Longer Seem Safer in Contemporary China”
Speaker: Jason Kuo, Ph.D. candidate, department of political science, UC San Diego
The conventional wisdom holds that food products made in China seem less safe than their counterparts imported from abroad because food safety standards are less rigorously enforced in China than other countries. The validity of this prevalent view largely depends on an implicit presumption: Despite her disreputable past of regulatory failure, the Chinese government has no room to maneuver the integrity of the food supply abroad. Yet, the Chinese government can in fact use its gate-keeping power of regulating market access to shape incentives of producers, processors, and retailers abroad to supply the “imported” foods just above her domestic regulatory standards and yet still below rigorously enforced foreign standards to gain cross-border regulatory arbitrage on the Chinese market. I argue that the Chinese government, as a dubious domestic regulator, can provoke safety concerns among Chinese consumers over imported food products that seem safe. Micro-level evidence from a survey experiment supports my counter-intuitive claim. I demonstrate that other things being equal, an individual Chinese adult consumer is seven percentage point more likely to worry about the safety of imported food—even from the United States (US)—immediately after being cued that the Chinese government’s hands are not tied; more importantly, these provoked safety concerns can be offset by cuing on the US government as a regulator of last resort to make up for the Chinese lack of credibility in ensuring the integrity of the global food supply. These results contribute to our theoretical understanding of growing concerns over imported food products in open economies.

Oct. 23, 2015
"The Expansion of Chinese NGOs into Africa: A Threat or New Collaborator for Nation-States?"
Speaker: Reza Hasmath, professor, department of political science, University of Alberta
Growing attention has been paid to China’s recent entree into international development. While received wisdom has long suggested that NGOs have played key roles in assisting government-led development initiatives, little scholarly attention has been paid to the potential for Chinese NGOs in helping affect these process and outcomes. In this talk, the experiences of two African nations – Ethiopia and Malawi – with relatively high levels of Chinese development assistance, but with contrasting political regime types, will be analyzed. The talk suggests that irrespective of regime type, Chinese NGOs are yet to make a substantial impact in either nation. Instead, it offers the standpoint that despite the strength of the Chinese state and high levels of international development assistance given, domestic politics and regulatory frameworks in host nations still matter a great deal. These local contexts ultimately have constrained Chinese development work, especially in regards to the involvement of NGOs. Furthermore, the talks suggests that the Chinese model of international development will continue to be one where temporary one-off projects are favoured; and, insofar as social organizations will play a role, they will be in the domain of government-organized NGOs rather than grassroots NGOs.

Oct. 5, 2015
“The Final Cataclysm of the Third Kalpa: Huidaomen Sects in the Early People’s Republic of China, 1949-1951”
Speaker: Yupeng Jiao, Ph.D. candidate, department of history, UC San Diego
Scholars have written extensively on millenarian movements and heterodox religious societies (labeled as counterrevolutionary Huidaomen sects in the early People’s Republic of China) in late Imperial China, and several books on the Republican era have also been published recently. However, we have almost no knowledge about their fate in the PRC, except for the vague official propaganda produced during several campaigns against counterrevolutionaries. Newly available archives at Stanford East Asia Library, including confessions of sects members, household registration forms and personal files of Chinese Communist Party members from Shanxi, Hebei and Beijing shed new light on the social composition of such social entities, their organizational structure, their eschatological teachings during the Republican-Communist transition period, and the fate of believers. Together with collections of relevant primary sources and local gazetteers published in both China and Taiwan, we are now able to reconstruct a broader picture of Huidaomen sects in the early PRC period from both grassroots-level accounts and official perspectives. Based on the case study of Jiexiu county in Shanxi province, this paper aims at figuring out the continuities and discontinuities of millenarianism and heterodox sects from late Imperial period to early PRC, the rationale behind the hostility between the communist state and religious communities, and the ultimate fate of the sects members. Although the communist regime never ceased to suppress Huidaomen sects harshly in post-1949 period, they were never wiped out in China. This project will also shed light on the survival strategy of religion during the heyday of communist movements and also religious revival during the reform era.

May 29, 2015
“Theorizing Economic Diplomacy: The Case of China (1949-2015)” (PDF)
Speaker: Dr. Zhang Xiaotong, associate professor, Wuhan University

May 22, 2015
“Factionalism and the Exit of Central Committee Members in China: A Network Approach” (PDF)
Speaker: Yin Yuan, Ph.D. candidate, department of political science, UC San Diego

April 24, 2015
“SEZs Go Global: Chinese industrial zones in Africa” (PDF)
Speaker: Nikia Clarke, Ph.D. in international relations and politics, Oxford University

April 17, 2015
"Laozian Sense of Social Responsibility: A Modern Development of Laozi's Philosophy" (PDF)
Speaker: Liu Xiaogan, professor, Claremont College

April 10, 2015
“Becoming a Good Citizen for a Better Life: Why Does the Middle Class Prefer Negotiation over Rightful Resistance in Shanghai?” (PDF)
Speaker: Yihan Xiong, visiting scholar, GPS UC San Diego

March 30, 2015
“The Development of 'One Belt and One Road' and Its Impacts on China-US Relations” (PDF)
Speaker: Xia Liping, Dean and professor, Institute of International and Political Affairs at Tongji University

Feb. 27, 2015
"Chinese as a Major Negotiating Language in the Opening of Japan: Luo Sen’s Journal of Perry’s 1854 Expedition" (PDF)
Speaker: Demin Tao, professor, Kansi University (Japan)

Feb. 13, 2015
“The Organization 乌有之乡and the 新毛派” (PDF)
Speaker: Jude Blanchette, assistant director, 21st Century China Program, UC San Diego

Jan. 30, 2015
“Multinational Firms and the Microfoundations of the Commercial Peace” (PDF)
Speaker: Jack Zhang, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Political Science, UC San Diego

Jan. 23, 2015
“Political Contingency and Rebellious Alliance: The Case of the Chinese Red Guard Movement, 1966-1968” (PDF)
Speaker: Fei Yan, postdoctoral fellow, The Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Stanford University

Jan. 9, 2015
“Discussion on Villains of '1949-1966' Chinese Films” 《“十七年”电影中的反面角色 》(PDF)
Speaker: Dishan Liu, visiting scholar, Department of Literature, UC San Diego

2014

Dec. 5, 2014
“Gendered Meanings in Translation: Surrogate Dating in Cyberspace and the Reconstruction of Asian Femininity & Western Masculinity”
Speaker: Haiyi Liu, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Sociology, UC San Diego

Nov. 14, 2014
“Interpersonal History Across Boundary: Paul S. Reinsch and His Three Different Experiences in Sino-Us Relations” (PDF)
Speaker: Jianbiao Ma, associate professor, Department of History, Fudan University; visiting scholar, Department of History, UC San Diego

Nov. 7, 2014
“Explaining China’s Changing Periphery Diplomacy”
Speaker: Feng Liu, visiting professor, GPS, UC San Diego

Oct. 31, 2014
“Resources and Conflict: Assessing the Role of Oil and Fishing Resources in the South China Sea Dispute for years 1980 to 2013” (PDF)
Speaker: Patrick Chester, master's candidate, GPS, UC San Diego

Oct. 17, 2014
“Charting the Role of Chinese Demand: Socio-economic Perspectives on the Integration of the Pacific, 1750-1850” (PDF)
Speaker: Robert Hellyer, associate professor, Department of History, Wake Forest University

Oct. 3, 2014
“Individual Paths to the Global Ummah: Islamic Revival in Northwest China”(PDF)
Speaker: Alex Stewart, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Anthropology, UC San Diego

May 30, 2014
"Putting a Face to Globalization: Investor Origin and Public Perception of FDI in Zambia" (PDF)
Speakers: Weiyi Shi and Brigitte Zimmerman, Ph.D. candidates, Department of Political Science, UC San Diego

May 16, 2014
"In and Out of the Media System: A point of view on China’s TV Documentary" (PDF)
Speaker: Yi Chen, associate professor, Communication School, Soochow University, China

May 9, 2014
"In the Shadow of the Revolutions: China’s Fiscal Institution and its Deficiencies from a Historical Perspective" (PDF)
Speaker: Dr. Sherman Xiaogang Lai, Department of Political Science, Royal Military College of Canada

May 2, 2014
"Politics At Home and Risk-Taking Abroad:  Evidence from Emerging Multinational Corporations" (PDF)
Speaker: Weiyi Shi, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Political Science, UC San Diego

April 25, 2014
"Unlimited Tweet but Limited Activity: The Independent Candidates’ Use of Social Media in China’s Local Elections"
Speaker: He Junzhi, professor, Fudan University

April 18, 2014
"When Disruptive Innovation Fails to Disrupt: Competition and Capability-Building in China”
Speaker: Eric Thun, lecturer, Chinese Business Studies, University of Oxford

April 11, 2014
"Belief, Practice, and the Category of Religion in China: Narratives of Non-Religious College Students" (PDF)
Speaker: Harrison Carter, Ph.D. candidate, UC San Diego

March 14, 2014
“Promoting Misuse: Fiscal Corruption and Organization in China” (PDF)
Speaker: Dimitar Gueorguiev, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Political Science, UC San Diego

Feb. 28, 2014
“What is in a Name? A Comparison of Being Branded a Religious "Cult" in the U.S. and the PRC: A Case Study of Witness Lee and the Local Churches"
Speaker: Teresa Zimmerman-Liu, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Sociology, UC San Diego

Feb. 21, 2014
"Economic Compensation for Political Dismissals in China" (PDF)
Speaker: Jonghyuk Lee, Ph.D. candidate, UC San Diego

Feb. 14, 2014
"Poision Me If You Can: Who is Concerned About Food Safety in China?" (PDF)
Speaker: Jason Kuo, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Political Science, UC San Diego

Jan. 31, 2014
"From Tiananmen to Outsourcing: How Rising Import Competition has Changed Congressional Voting towards China" (PDF)
Speaker: Jack Zhang, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Political Science, UC San Diego

Jan. 9, 2014
"Political Economy Research and Fieldwork in China: Conversation with Ling Chen"
Speaker: Ling Chen, Shorenstein postdoctoral fellow, Stanford University

2013

Dec. 6, 2013

“How Much Infrastructure Is Too Much? A New Approach and Evidence from China”
Speaker: Huang Shaoqing, professor, Shanghai Jiao Tong University; visiting scholar, UC San Diego

Nov. 15, 2013
"The Third Plenum of 18th Party Congress: A conversation with Yu Yongding and Li Weisen" (PDF)
Speakers: Li Weisen, professor, Fudan University and Yu Yongding, professor, CASS

Nov. 8, 2013
"Officials Make Statistics and Statistics Make Officials: Campbell's Law under Authoritarian Regimes" (PDF)
Speaker: Steven Oliver, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Political Science, UC San Diego

Oct. 28, 2013
"Juking the Stats? Authoritarian Information Problems in China" (PDF)
Speaker: Jeremy Wallace, assistant professor, Department of Political Science, Ohio State University

Oct. 25, 2013
"Yellow on Red - Consultative Rule-Making in China" (PDF)
Speaker: Dimitar Gueorguiev, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Political Science, UC San Diego

Oct. 14, 2013
"China’s Urbanization & Food Demand" (PDF)
Speaker: Arthur Yang, Ph.D., Department of Economics, McVean Trading & Investments

Oct. 4, 2013
"Talking to Strangers Online in China" (PDF)
Speaker: Tricia Wang, Ph.D., Department of Sociology, UC San Diego

May 28, 2013
"How To Measure The Image of China" (PDF)
Speaker: Dr. PEI Zengyu, research fellow, International Public Relations Research Center, Fudan University

May 21, 2013
"The Role of Language in International Relations" (PDF)
Speaker: Yongtao Liu, professor, Fudan University

May 7, 2013
"Powerful Patrons: Taking Stock of Political Connections in China" (PDF)
Speaker: JiaKun Jack Zhang, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Political Science, UC San Diego

April 23, 2013
"Ethnicity and Political Responsiveness in China: A Field Experiment" (PDF)
Speaker: Greg Distelhorst, Department of Political Science, MIT

April 9, 2013
"Local Officials' Incentives to Manipulate Air Quality Data in Urban China" (PDF)
Speaker: Steven Oliver, Deparment of Political Science, UC San Diego

March 5, 2013
"Beijing Elections" (PDF)
Speaker: Patrick Chester, MPIA candidate, GPS, UC San Diego

Feb. 19, 2013
"Economic Compensation for Political Dismissals in China"
Speaker: Jonghyuk Lee, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Political Science and International Affairs, UC San Diego

Feb. 5, 2013
 "Reducing Consumer Switching Costs with Technology Portability: Evidence of Market Competition in the Global Wireless Industry" (PDF)
Speaker: Xiahua Wei, Ph.D. candidate, Department of Economics, UC San Diego

Jan. 18, 2013
"Cyber Security in the Sino-US Relationship" (PDF)
Speaker: Shen Yi, professor, Fudan University