Economic Development of China

The following are just suggestions, illustrating what I think would be an interesting and feasible paper topic. The idea is to pose a question or problem,
and see whether you can answer or solve it. Some of these topics we will go over in class, but you might want to dig deeper than that. Use of quantitative
methods is fine and encouraged, but not required. Even if the approach is largely qualitative, though, the inclusion of relevant data is always useful. It
would not be a good idea, for instance, to write about the role of foreign direct investment (FDI) in China’s development without including any data on FDI!
Speaking of FDI, there is much information about this particular topic on the internet. This raises temptations that must be resisted. Language in the paper
must always be your own, unless enclosed in quotation marks and fully referenced.
For the term paper, please use the normal practices of academic writing, including footnotes (or endnotes) where needed, a bibliography of references or
works consulted, a proper title page, etc. Be sure to NUMBER YOUR PAGES (so I can comment on a particular passage if necessary) and DO NOT USE A PLASTIC
COVER. Just a staple, please. The papers are much harder to read and write comments on when they’re bound in a cover.
You are free to choose one of these topics, or to make up your own. It is fine if you choose one of your own, but please check it with me first to make sure
it is appropriate and feasible.
1. Past and Present. Much commentary on China’s three decades of rapid economic growth ignores the decades from 1949 to 1978, or dismisses them as a costly
failure that pushed forward the starting point for successful modernization. Yet a case could also be made that changes during those early decades made
possible the rapid growth that followed them. This paper calls for a critical examination of the links between the pre-reform and post-reform period.
2. Transition to A Market Driven Economy in China and in the European Former Socialist Countries. Both the means and the results of China’s approach to
transition have been very different from those of the former Soviet Union and East Europe. Compare and contrast the two approaches and discuss the degree to
which they might have been transferable to each other.
3. The Role of Foreign Direct Investment in China’s Economic Growth. Has China’s remarkable growth during the reform era been due mainly to domestic efforts
or to FDI? What has been the impact of FDI on the Chinese economy? This paper requires a careful discussion of the kinds of influence a particular type of
investment, such as FDI, may have on economic growth.
4. China and Climate Change. China is now the biggest contributor to the global accumulation of greenhouse gases. Its rapid growth requires ever more energy.
Some of that is coming from quickly expanding supplies of renewables (wind, etc.) but much of it comes from coal. Explore the possible trends in China’s
contributions to climate change over the next decade, discussing what you think are the most important variables that will determine these trends.
5. Economic Reform and Productivity. There has been a controversy over whether China’s reforms have raised "total factor productivity" in state
owned industry. This project would review and critically assess the arguments on both sides (including the assumptions behind the TFP estimates) and attempt
to reach a conclusion about this issue.
6. The Exchange Rate Controversy. There has been an unusual divergence of opinion among top economists in the US over whether China’s currency is under-
valued and should be made to appreciate against the US dollar. This paper is a review of the debate, with a well-supported conclusion by the author.

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