A blog dedicated to Chinese economic research

SinoEconomics aims to foster the diffusion of Chinese economic research. This includes publishing reviews of Chinese journal articles and economic books, in-depth analyses of Chinese economists’ bibliographies, as well as studies on the evolution of Chinese economic thought.

SinoEconomics is a project initiated by Lucas Erlbacher – doctoral candidate at the Freie Universität Berlin, Germany – as part of his PhD on ‘the evolution and current state of Chinese economic thought’.

Unearthing the ideas behind China’s economy

SinoEconomics strives to cast a ray of light into the depths of China’s economic literature by unearthing insights, ideas, and ideologies previously concealed behind the great Chinese language barrier.

With the rise of its economy, China has become a central topic of economic research. Despite that, Chinese economists have largely been absent from the global academic discussion on the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Importantly, Chinese economic scholarship remains crucial to understanding the PRC’s past, present and future economic path.

  • The work of Chinese economists provides unique insights. In particular, their deep knowledge of their country’s domestic context, as well as the access to rare sources, such as official datasets, is noteworthy .
  • Chinese economists continue to shape the PRC’s reform process. The study of Chinese economic debates enables, thus, a better appreciation of the PRC’s economic policy choices.
  • Chinese ideas matter in an increasingly sinicized world. With the PRC’s sizeable influence on the global economy, the necessity of studying Chinese economic thought(s) keeps increasing.

In addition, SinoEconomics aims to contribute to enhancing pluralism within Economics.

China’s is disruptive: Theories fall over their contradictions. Economic ideologies disintegrate over their selective application. Assumptions collapse in front of the on-the-ground realities. Whereas, as Huang Zongzhi 黄宗智 and Zhou Li’an 周黎安 argue, Western economic theories and development experiences provide an analytical benchmark to identify the specificities of China rise [1], the PRC’s development experience offer an unique opportunity to reflect on the validity of the economic theories and beliefs systems currently prevalent within Economics.

[1] Zhou, L.-A. (2019). Understanding China: A Dialogue with Philip Huang. Modern China, 45(4), 392–432. https://doi.org/10.1177/0097700419845316.

Cartography of Chinese Economic Thought

Chinese economic research has since the end of the nineteen-seventies undergone dazzling transformations. The first years of the reform era saw the ‘reinstatement of Economics’ within the country’s education and research system, as well as its policy making process. Throughout the eighties, modern economic methods and mainstream economic theories witnessed a large-scale popularisation. Although during the first half of the nineteen-eighties Marxist Economists played a crucial role in justifying the country’s reform process. However, in the following two decades Marxian Economics retreated to the margins, while Neoclassical Economics and Neoliberalism gained in influence.

At the same time, the rise of Neoclassic Economics and Neoliberalism spurred the multiplication and gradual amplification of alternative heterodox economic currents: On the one hand, the return of Marxian Economics since the two-thousand tens, thanks in large part to political patronage. On the other hand, the bourgeoning of new heterodox economic currents, notably the Chinese New-Listian Economics School (see. Jia Genliang 贾跟良: an Economist for China’s New Era?). More recently, the PRC’s political leadership has pushed for the development of new economic mainstream: Socialist Political Economy with Chinese Characteristics 中国特色社会主义政治经济学.