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2nd Great Minds China Forum

On the afternoon of December 4, 2016, the 2nd Great Minds China Forum was held under the organization of National Economics Foundation. The forum entails five topics and provides an academic feast for renowned professors of economics and chief editors of world’s leading academic journals.


Topic One: China’s Economic Growth: a Historical and Empirical Perspective


Ma Debin, tenured associate professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, delivered a speech with a topic of “China’s Economic Growth: from a Historical and Empirical Perspective”. A brief introduction of the development and the significance of China’s economic history was given at the beginning of the speech, followed by a detailed explanation of Professor Ma’s study on China’s economic history from three aspects: the great divergence of measurement, the great divergence of interpretation and reflection on the national economy.


James Kung, professor of Social Sciences at Yanai Foundation and chair professor at School of Humanities and Social Science of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, continued Professor Ma’s topic. Professor James Kung said, “Currently, research on economic history in China is still in its infancy and remains to develop. The research of economic history can be conducted from two approaches. One is to study the influences of opium trade on the great divergence, the relationship between population growth and market integration, and social mobility in the imperial examination system; while the other one is based on natural experiments.”


Topic Two: Investment, Mismatch and China’s Economic Growth: Challenges and Opportunities


Song Zheng, professor at Department of Economics of Chinese University of Hong Kong, said, “What is the possible result of relaxing financial control? The economy will turn from the “granular” one in the past three decades to a “bulky” one. The “Bulkiness” not only refers to the size, but also means low efficiency and clumsiness. Behind a “bulky” economy, there are connections between local governments and financial institutes.”


Bai Chongen, associate dean of the school of economics and management and chair professor of Mansfield Freeman, made his comment after Professor Song’s speech. Professor Bai Chongen indicated that the two theories of Type M and Type U concerning China’s economic development modes are in no way incompatible regardless of small difference. They differ from but relate to and even inherit from one another.”


Topic Three: Mechanism Design Theory and Its Significance in China’s Reforms, Development and Governance


Tian Guoqiang, dean of the School of Economics and Institute for Advanced Research of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics and chair professor at Texas A&M University, delivered his speech. He said, “The great achievement in China’s reforms is attributed to adoption of incentive mechanisms in replace of planned economy and gradual and staged reform of economy liberalization, marketization and privatization, which reduced government intervention dramatically and promoted the development of private economy with lower proportion of the state-owned economy.” According to the scientific methods of experimental control, that is, in addition to the fixed factors, there appear new factors highlighted by a greater degree of economic freedom of choice, liberalization reform, introduction of competition mechanism, adoption of various incentives, large-scale development of the private economy, and adoption of gradual reform. Great achievements are obtained by marketizing basic economic system.



Professor Yang Ruilong at School of Economics of Renmin University of China added after Professor Tian’s speech that the dynamic mechanism was a crucial reason of the successful reforms in the past three decades. As Professor Qian indicated, this mechanism was good but not the best; however, it did promote China’s marketization process. China still needed to carry out reforms in the future and to remodel the dynamic mechanism for reforms.


Topic Four: Will China Fall into the Mid-Income Trap?


Huang Youguang, chair professor at the Division of Economics of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and tenured professor emeritus at Monash University in Australia, delivered a brilliant speech entitled “Will China Fall into the Mid-Income Trap”. Professor Huang took a stand that “China won’t fall into the mid-income trap” at the beginning of the speech, and he believed “China’s economic downturn” was completely false since only a negative growth rate indicated a downward economy, and China merely had a declined growth rate. Indeed, China does have some debt problems but not severe as China boasts a relatively high saving rate. According to his insight into big cities, China’s future problem is the deficient fertility, so we do not have to worry about population problems and population policy should be completely relaxed.


Topic Five: Research Frontier of Econometrics


Professor Giuseppe Cavaliere delivered a wonderful speech titled “Research Frontier of Econometrics”, during which he briefly explained future challenges of econometrics before elaborating on the principle and application of Bootstrap method in economics to emphasize the importance of econometrics. A comparison on percentages of the number of articles on econometrics published in the 1990s and the period of 2011-2015 was given at the end to illustrate China’s development and progress in econometrics.


Today’s forum gives us the opportunity to meet with experts and scholars from around the world, share academic ideas, discuss hot issues and listen to the frontiers of research. Prosperity of economic science is both the call of the times and the mission of contemporary Chinese economists. China’s economic prosperity and development is attributed to every insightful economist’s continuous exploration and learning efforts. National Economics Foundation is committed to building a broad academic exchange platform for scholars dedicated in the field of economics and enables further exchange and cooperation in a wider range of academic fields. Finally, in the warm applause, the China Economics Prize Awarding Ceremony and the 2nd Great Minds China Forum brings to a successful close.









◆please indicate the source if authorized: National Economics Foundation

◆photo:National Economics Foundation