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NEF interview Pol Antràs



NEF: How to innovate the theory of Economics? How to publish an article in an international top journal? Can you give an introduction about the theoretical innovation of the articles/papers that Chinese scholars have published in a top international journal?


Publishing in top journal in Economics is now harder than ever before. The number of Ph.D. researchers in Economics has greatly increased in recent years, yet the number of papers published in the most distinguished journals in Economics has essentially remained flat. Many papers published in a top journal in Economics now offer a combination of theoretical methods and empirical ones, and as a result, co-authorship is much more frequent these days than in the past. It is hard to pinpoint particular types of innovations associated with Chinese scholars, but it strikes me that Econometrics is a field in which Chinese scholars have made particularly path breaking contributions. There is also a very active literature studying the recent evolution of the Chinese economy, and many important contributions to that literature have been at least co-authored by Chinese economists.


NEF:What is the most interesting topic about the economic development in China and other developing countries among the international academic circles? What is the problem that the international academic circles think it is worth to discuss in depth in theory?


I would highlight three aspects of the economic development in China that have been of particular interest to scholars. First, many people have studies the symbiosis between state-owned and private companies, and how the capital and labor markets in China is shaped by the coexistence of these type of firms. Second, there has been a keen interest in the massive migration of labor from the hinterland in China to coastal areas where manufacturing (at least initially) was flourishing. Third, international trade economists have been keen on understanding the spectacular growth of Chinese exports to many developed countries (particularly the U.S.) and how that has shaped labor markets in those developed economies. Of course there are many other fascinating aspects of the Chinese economy, but these three are ones I am particularly familiar with. 


NEF: At present, which Chinese scholar is worthy of attention in the world economics circle? And why?


I am not sure I could single out just one, and even mentioning a few would probably get me in trouble (due to omissions). Within the field of Econometrics, I would highlight Gregory Chow among the older cohort and Xiaohong Chen among younger cohorts, who have provided path-breaking contributions. In my field (International Economics), an obvious name that comes to mind is Shang-Jin Wei, who has done highly creative work in both international trade and international finance topics.


NEF NEF now is awarding the China Economics Prize, do you think it is meaningful at present and is in the right time? What issues do you like to talk and discuss with Chinese scholars?


I think it is very much a worthwhile initiative and I think it is a great time to set up this prize. China should be proud of its academic economists and publicly recognize their many achievements.








◆please indicate the source if authorized: National Economics Foundation

◆photo:National Economics Foundation