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Experts shed light on China’s economic research

Author  :  ZHANG JUNRONG     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2019-06-05

Experts explored China’s economy and economic research at an event celebrating the 90th anniversary of the Institute of Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) May 17–18.

Gu Shengzu, vice chairman of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, expressed his hope that the institute will contribute theoretical wisdom in the study of China’s major economic strategies involving economic transformation and innovation. He also hoped that it can make suggestions in several areas including grasping the opportunities brought about by the new round of industrial revolution and scientific and technological revolution, accelerating high-quality growth and facilitating a great modern country, building a modern economic system and improving macroeconomic regulation and control, and coping with economic globalization and promoting the construction of the Belt and Road.

Zhou Xiaochuan, president of the China Society for Finance and Banking, said that economic research and education still have a long way to go. In the past year or two, there has been a debate about the globalization of trade and investment and multilateralism. This suggests to economists that institutional and policy choices and their analysis and argumentation will remain socioeconomic issues drawing extensive attention. At the same time, China’s economic operating environment is also undergoing tremendous changes. Information, technology, flow of factors of production, reserve currency, income distribution … all pose new challenges to institutions and policies, waiting for economists to research and address them.

Xie Fuzhan, CASS president and secretary of the leading Party members’ group, said that the Institute of Economics is the earliest established national economic research institute in the modern era. It developed on the basis of two research institutes in the 1920s that were reorganized, merged and renamed several times. The institute has experienced three different development periods under the Academia Sinica, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and CASS.

Over the past 90 years, the institute has been tempered by the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and witnessed the founding and growth of the new China, and the reform and opening up. Especially after the 3rd Plenary Session of the 11th Central Committee of the CPC in 1978, the institute has continued to play an important role in the historical process of China’s rapid economic growth and economic theoretical innovation, representing the mainstream of the country’s economic research and development.

There are three popular economic paradigms in China’s current economic research, said Cai Fang, CASS vice president and member of the leading Party members’ group. The first is the Phillips curve, the second is Daniel Kahneman’s analysis of regression to the mean, and the third is the convergence hypotheses of the Solow-Swan model.

It is notable that starting from any single paradigm is not enough to explain the current state of the Chinese economy, Cai observed. As such, comprehensive analysis is needed to summarize a new research paradigm.

Barry Naughton, Sokwanlok chair of Chinese international affairs at UC San Diego, said the Chinese economy is undergoing structural changes. The world is facing some fundamental challenges. Most people believe that China’s economic contribution and China’s leadership can have a huge positive effect. The world does not know its direction for development. China has accumulated a lot of experience in transformation from its past development, and countries around the world are also looking forward to learning more about China.

Huang Qunhui, director of the Institute of Economics at CASS, said that in the face of the tremendous changes from the trends of industrialization, marketization, informatization and globalization, China’s economics needs to seek developments and breakthroughs through intellectual, theoretical and methodological innovation. Zhang Zhuoyuan, CASS Member and former director of the Institute of Economics, expressed his hope that the institute’s researchers, especially the young, will be able to conduct meticulous research and shed light on what can be learned from China’s economic transformation.

Editor: Yu Hui

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