Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Chinese Economics With Midwest Characteristics

Brookings Institution scholar Cheng Li has written an historical account of Chinese think tanks.  In recent years, China has turned its attention increasingly in the direction of domestic economic policy and international economic issues.

A recently established think tank is the China Center for Economic Research (CEER) at Peking University, China’s premier university.  As of 2005 (Cheng Li’s data), CEER had 24 scholars, all holding Ph.D. degrees from foreign universities.  (See Table 5)

One held a degree from Stanford.  None held a degree from the East Coast Ivies of Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and M.I.T.  Two held degrees from Chicago.  CEER was to be modeled in line with the traditional Chicago school.

Half held degrees from Midwestern universities, the heartland of red states.  (The same was true for the foreign trained economists in Korea and Taiwan that spearheaded reform in those lands.)  Midwestern doctoral programs tend to deal more with real world issues than with the finer points of mathematical models that have little real-world applicability.

China’s economic policy is generally regarded as pragmatic.  Its foreign trained economists have been educated to see things in the same way.

Could we swap some of their think tank economists for ours?

No comments :