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Hong Yongmiao

As a Professor of Economics and Class of 1913 Professor of Political Economy, Emeritus, at Princeton University, Professor Gregory C. Chow has been a world-class leading scholar in econometrics and applied economics.  He first entered Lingnan University in Guangzhou as a freshman in 1947, then moved to Cornell University as a sophomore in 1948 before pursuing graduate study at Chicago University. After obtaining a PhD degree in Economics from Chicago in 1955,  Gregory taught at M.I.T., Cornell University and Princeton University. In between he had also worked at the IBM Thomas Watson Research Center. After joining Princeton as a professor, he became the Director of the Econometric Research Program and led the program for almost three decades till 1997. In 2001 Princeton University renamed the Program the Gregory C. Chow Econometric Research Program in his honor.


Among his numerous innovative research, three main themes emerge as being fundamental and influential .First being his econometric research, which extends far beyond his renowned “Chow test”which tests structural changes of coefficients in linear regressions and appears in almost all introductory econometric textbooks. His econometric work included the study of simultaneous equation systems, full-information maximum likelihood estimation, estimation with missing observations, estimation of large macroeconomic models, and modeling and forecasting with time series methods. Gregory also pioneered on optimal control theory and its application to stochastic economic systems, and introduced the Lagrange multiplier method into the solution method for dynamic optimization problems, contributing to econometrics, economic theory as well as the development of mainstream macroeconomics. Starting from early 1980s,Gregory began to devote to research on China’s economic transition. He examined the Chinese economy thoroughly with modern economic theories and empirical methods, and brought forth insights on the economic transition process and policy choices with market-based incentives. His research findings are published in a series of books, such as China’s Economic Transformation (2002, 2007, 2015), China’s Economic and Social Problems (2014), Interpreting China’s Economy (2010), and China as a Leader of the World Economy (2011).


Yet Gregory’s offering to the academic society is far greater than his distinguished contribution in research alone. He had been an important adviser to Taiwan and mainland China on economic policies, economic reform as well as economics education. Regarded by the U.S. economics society as the most knowledgeable expert on China, Gregory is masterful in guiding policy practice with economic theory. During 1960s and 1970s, he served in an advisory team to Taiwan government officials on a series of economic policies, and is regarded as one of the designers on Taiwan’s economic take-off. Since 1980s, he visited mainland China frequently, and served as an adviser to the Premier and the Commission on Restructuring the Economic System on a variety of issues, such as the double-track approach on economic reform, inflation management, foreign exchange reform, reform on banking and the financial institution, etc.


Following the opening up of China since the end of 1970s, China’s education and research on economics began to hug the opportunity of great transformation and development. Gregory became a spiritual leader and real driver on modernizing China’s economics education. As early as in 1980, he organized the “Summer Palace Workshop on Econometrics” and gave lectures in it, which trained the first cohort of econometrician in China. Then he collaborated with Peking University to organize a “Workshop on Microeconomics” and with Renmin University of China to organize a “Workshop on Macroeconomics”. From 1981 to 1994 he acted as Chairman of the American Economic Association’s Committee on Exchanges in Economics with China, and from 1985 to 1994 as Co-Chairman of the U.S. Committee on Economics Education and Research in China. In these positions, in collaboration with the National Education Commission of China, he helped to select students to enter PhD programs in American universities, and also helped to establish a graduate study program sponsored by the Ford Foundation, which invited renowned international economists to teach selected excellent students from top Chinese universities.  A majority of these students went on for overseas PhD study, many of whom became tenure-tracked faculty in prestigious universities in North America, Europe or Asia-Pacific regions before returning to China for contributing to the economic or educational reform. Some of those students became policy makers after obtaining a PhD abroad, and have been actively participating to the economic and financial reforms in China. It is no wonder why Gregory is called “a great seed sower and gardener in economics education” and “the father of modern economics in China”.


In recent years, Gregory still pays regular visits to universities in mainland China and Hong Kong, and continues to give advice and supports to the development of economics education. He helped to re-establish Lingnan College in Sun Yat-Sen University. He set up fellowships with the Chinese Economist Society to encourage overseas scholars to give lectures in China, and serves as adviser and adjunct professor in many Chinese universities. In 2016, Gregory and his wife, Paula Chow, decided to donate 10 million US dollar in a few installments to Xiamen University to set up the Gregory and Paula Chow Foundation for Education in Economics, aiming to further enhance economics research and education in China to the world level. Moreover, with great social influence, he frequently publishes essays and column articles on newspapers and magazines in China and abroad to comment on China’s economic reform, advise on economics education and research, explain the application of economic models, and enlighten ordinary people on economics thinking.  Professor Gregory Chow is a member of the American Philosophical Society, and a fellow of the American Statistical Association and of the Econometric Society. In 2014 he was named Distinguished Fellow by the American Economic Association.



Yongmiao Hong, Cornell University

◆please indicate the source if authorized: National Economics Foundation

◆photo:National Economics Foundation