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Institutional Genes: A Comparative Analysis of Origins of China’s Institutions

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March 28, 2019 - 4:30pm
Green Library, 5th floor, Bender Room, 557 Escondido Mall, Stanford
Xu Chenggang

About the talk:

2019 Hsieh Memorial Lecture featuring Xu Chenggang. Professor Xu Chenggang's talk is based on a book project which studies the origins of contemporary China’s institutions. What are the features of China’s fundamental institutions? What are the origins of these institutions? How and why have these institutions evolved in the ways we observe? Other intimately related questions to be addressed are: why the Chinese endeavors of establishing constitutionalism since the late 19th century ended up with a Soviet type of totalitarian regime in the mid-twentieth century? What are the perspectives of institutional changes and related issues in the future?

Professor Xu's analysis compares China’s institutions and their evolutions with their counterparts in the rest of the world, such as the Chinese Empire, the Roman Empire, the European feudal systems, constitutional revolutions/reforms, and the Japanese Empire and its Meiji Restoration, etc. Particular attention is paid to Russian institutions as he argues that the institutional genes of contemporary China’s institutions are composed of those from the Chinese Empire and those from the Soviet Union. A more general question on the origins of totalitarianism in Russia is a central question thus has to be addressed as well. This is a multi-disciplinary work, involving economics, political science, law, and history. The concept of institutional genes is derived from institutional design theory. Most of the subjects to be analyzed and most evidence to be provided are historical facts.

About the speaker:

Xu Chenggang is Professor of Economics at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business. He is one of the first recipients (joint with Yingyi Qian) of China Economics Prize for contributions in understanding government and enterprise incentive mechanisms for the transition economy of China.

Dr. Xu received his PhD in Economics from Harvard in 1991. He is currently a board member of the Ronald Coase Institute (RCI) and a research fellow of the CEPR. He has previously taught at the London School of Economics (1991-2009) as a Reader, at the University of Hong Kong (2009-2016) as Chung Hon-Dak Professor in Economic Development and as Quoin Professor in Economic Development (2008-2016), and as Special-Term Visiting Professor at Tshinghua University (2002-).

Event Sponsor: 
Stanford Libraries, Stanford Center on Global Poverty and Development
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Sonia Lee
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