Wolfgang Keller, Carol Shiue, 05 December 2021

There is little consensus about the impact that the Western colonialism had on China’s economy. This column revisits a period that saw China end centuries of relative isolation and open dozens of ‘treaty ports’ to Western traders, which shifted the focus of capital markets from inland areas to the coast. Western influence also increased the number of banks, firm investment, as well as the adoption of steam engines and industrial machinery, and significantly lowered local interest rates.

Davin Chor, Bingjing Li, 25 November 2021

Tariffs initiated by the Trump administration in 2018 raised duties on China’s exports to the US, sparking a ‘tariff war’. This column uses satellite readings of night-time luminosity to show that that locations within China that were more exposed to the US tariffs experienced a larger decrease in night light intensity, pointing to a contraction in local economic activity. By contrast, exposure to China’s retaliatory tariffs appeared to have no significant effect on grid-level night lights. 

Cathérine Casanova, Eugenio Cerutti, Swapan-Kumar Pradhan, 24 November 2021

The global footprint of Chinese banks is substantial and growing, including during the COVID-19 pandemic. While they are similar to other banks from emerging countries in terms of their ownership and asset structure, their global footprint often resembles that of banks from advanced countries. Geographical distance acts as a barrier for Chinese banks’ lending, comparable to that for US or European banks. Also like their US peers, the lending of Chinese banks strongly correlates with trade. Some differences are present, such as an atypical negative correlation between bank lending and portfolio investment.

Martin Ravallion, Shaohua Chen, 15 November 2021

China’s political leadership recently committed to expanding the proportion of middle-income groups to create a less polarised, and more ‘olive-shaped’, distribution of wealth. This column considers the potential trade-offs between reducing income polarisation and other goals, including poverty reduction. An obvious concern is how the process of economic growth impacts the extent of polarisation, but the country’s historical record does not point to any serious trade-offs going forward, including with economic growth, poverty reduction, and overall social welfare.  However, potential trade-offs would need to be considered further in the context of specific policy efforts, such as expanding social service coverage in rural areas.

Peter Robertson, 09 October 2021

US military spending is said to be greater than the next 11 countries combined. However, the conventional use of market exchange rates to compare across countries dramatically overstates US spending relative to other countries. This column introduces a military purchasing power parity exchange rate for 59 countries based on the relative unit cost ratio across counties. This ‘military PPP’ shows that the US military budget in 2019 was smaller than that of the next three largest military spenders – China, India, and Russia – combined.

Gabriel Felbermayr, Alexander Sandkamp, 10 October 2021

The recent combination of resurging demand and continuing disruptions in supply chains has led to a worrying return of inflation. In the EU, industry producer prices increased by 12.2% year-on-year in July 2021. This column argues that removing EU antidumping duties would at least partially ease the pressure on input and consumer prices. In contrast, the recent abandonment of China’s differential treatment in the EU’s antidumping legislation might even have contributed to increasing import prices.

Kenneth Rogoff, 21 September 2021

The Chinese economy was able to sharply rebound from the Covid pandemic, helping to sustain a housing boom. The country faces a multitude of challenges over the medium term, however, on top of the much more virulent Delta variant. This column argues that the footprint of China’s real estate sector has become so large – with an impact of real estate production and property services on GDP of 29% – that absorbing a significant housing slowdown would significantly impact overall growth, even absent a financial crisis.

Takatoshi Ito, Satoshi Koibuchi, Kiyotaka Sato, Junko Shimizu, Taiyo Yoshimi, 23 July 2021

The currency a firm chooses to invoice in reveals lessons on the prominence of that currency in the international sphere. This column presents survey data from Japanese overseas subsidiaries, highlighting how the use of Asian currencies has been growing steadily. The authors show that among Asian local currencies, Chinese renminbi and Thai baht are the most used currencies by Japanese subsidiaries. If these countries become increasingly important destination markets for regional countries, local currencies will be used more as trade invoice currency in Asia.

Chuan He, Karsten Mau, Mingzhi (Jimmy) Xu, 15 July 2021

Tariffs are often advertised as an effective tool to protect or even create jobs in specific industries. Empirical evidence suggests differently. Using data from a Chinese online job portal, this column documents how firms facing US tariff increases during the recent trade war posted fewer jobs and offered lower salaries, among other adjustments. Chinese retaliatory tariffs have not induced any systematic adjustments in firms’ vacancy postings. The winners of the trade war remain elusive while losers can be found on both sides.

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We are delighted to invite you to an online discussion and launch of a new RESPECT ebook, 'Rebooting Multilateral Trade Cooperation: Perspectives from China and Europe' published by CEPR/VoxEU. The event will be hosted by the Friends of Multilateralism Group in Geneva and will take place online on 13 July from 15:00 to 16:30 CEST.

Programme
15:00-15:05
Opening Remarks: Mia Mikic (FMG)
15:05-15:30
Presentations: Bernard Hoekman (EUI, FMG) and Xinquan Tu (UIBE)
15:30-16:00
Discussant comments:
Yi Xiaozhun (UIBE, Former DDG, WTO)
Alan Wolff (PIIE, former DDG, WTO)
Jean-Marie Paugam (DDG, WTO)
Deborah Elms (Executive Director, Asian Trade Centre)
16:00-16:30
General Q&A
Moderator for the whole webinar: Patrick Low (FMG)

Zoom--Please click the link below to join the webinar:
https://zoom.com.cn/j/81851324449?pwd=SjFxRTN0Rjlnb1kyanhHa0Q5ODhTQT09
Passcode: 086513

Rising geopolitical and geoeconomic tensions are undermining the rules-based multilateral trade order and threaten the ability of the WTO to fulfill its functions. The ebook ';Rebooting Multilateral Trade Cooperation: Perspectives from China and Europe' presents essays that explore options and possible paths forward to reboot multilateral trade cooperation, focusing on both cross-cutting areas pertaining to the operation of the organization subject-specific trade cooperation challenges confronting the WTO membership. While issue-specific cooperation on a plurilateral basis is part of the solution suggested by several of the contributions, others make clear that this does not remove the need for balance in the choice of issues put forward for deliberation and negotiation and for systemic WTO reform.

The ebook is available on CERP/VoxEU website: https://voxeu.org/content/rebooting-multilateral-trade-cooperation-perspectives-china-and-europe.

Bernard Hoekman, Xinquan Tu, 12 July 2021

Rising geopolitical and geoeconomic tensions among major trade powers are undermining the rules-based multilateral trade order. A new VoxEU eBook brings together teams of mostly Chinese and European experts who focus on key challenges confronting the multilateral trading system. Pursuit of issue-specific negotiations on an open plurilateral basis offers prospects for revitalizing the WTO but does not remove the need for balance in the choice of issues put forward for negotiation and for systemic WTO reform. Joint leadership by China and the EU to establish a balanced work programme that spans both old and new issues of interest to all WTO members is a necessary condition to reboot the rules-based trade order.

Brunello Rosa, Alessandro Tentori, 26 June 2021

Digital currencies are becoming increasingly present on both research and policy agendas, including for central banks. This column explores the geopolitical role of central bank digital currencies, with a particular focus on China. It argues that such currencies could be useful as a means for central banks to record transactions in an increasingly cashless economy and could help improve central banks’ monetary transmission. Nonetheless, the risk of cyber-attacks should not be overlooked.

Ian Goldin, Pantelis Koutroumpis, François Lafond, Julian Winkler, 31 May 2021

Labour productivity is a key determinant in improving living standards. But in recent years, productivity has stagnated, if not declined, in many countries around the world. This column re-evaluates the various reasons as to why this might be, applying three criteria to the existing explanations for the slowdown. It finds that the slowdown in productivity can be attributed to numerous factors, ranging from mismeasurement to changes in trade patterns.

Chad Bown, 30 April 2021

If you had trouble in the last four years keeping up with what was happening in the trade war, you're not alone. Chad Bown tell Tim Phillips about his new paper that explains what happened, when, what it meant - and what happens next.

Petros C. Mavroidis, André Sapir, 30 April 2021

The ability of the WTO to shape the way China conducts its trade policy has been severely limited, and most attempts to leverage multilateral pressure have so far failed. This third in a series of three columns explores how the relationship could be reformed and improved going forward. The authors highlight the need for clearer guidelines on state-owned enterprises, as well as new rules surrounding the transfer of technology between signatories.

Petros C. Mavroidis, André Sapir, 29 April 2021

Having joined the WTO, many Western countries expected China to soon liberalise and become an open market economy. This second in a series of three columns describes how China has been able to shrug off pressures to change its economic structure and trading strategy, particularly regarding how its state-owned enterprises operate within the multilateral system.

Petros C. Mavroidis, André Sapir, 28 April 2021

China’s ascension to the WTO followed years of negotiations with the incumbent members and was hailed at the time as a victory for the liberal paradigm – part of the ‘end of history’. But today frictions remain. This first in a series of three columns presents the build-up to China joining the multilateral trade agreement, arguing that expectations for its subsequent behaviour were misguided from the off.

Robert Gilhooly, Carolina Martinez, Abigail Watt, 13 April 2021

Emerging markets will be shaped by the US and Chinese policy stances in 2021. This column considers how the latest US fiscal package will interact with China’s policy normalisation and concludes that while President Biden’s American Rescue Plan should dominate a less expansionary stance in China, the boost to the global economy will be much more modest than one would typically expect. Specifically, the normalisation of goods consumption in developed markets and less import-intensive Chinese growth will curtail global goods trade, a key determinant of emerging market growth.

Gaurav Khanna, Wenquan Liang, Ahmed Mushfiq Mobarak, Ran Song, 08 April 2021

Why do workers remain in low-productivity areas when they could experience wage gains elsewhere? While the literature has proposed a few explanations, including the high cost and risky nature of migration, this column uses the case of China to examine instead the role that pollution plays. It finds that severe pollution can induce workers to relocate from productive to unproductive regions, suggesting that pollution control, coupled with policies facilitating migration, has the potential to bring about extra economic gains in developing countries.

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The 14th China Economics Summer Institute (CESI) will be held online between 25-27 August 2021 by Tsinghua University. The objective of CESI is to create a network and community of top level scholars working on Chinese economic development (working papers of previous CESI available at http://cesi.econ.cuhk.edu.hk/). This initiative is currently co-sponsored by the Chinese University of Hong Kong – Tsinghua University Joint Research Center for Chinese Economy, the Institute for Emerging Market Studies at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University, the Stanford King Center on Global Development at Stanford University, and the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University. The Summer Institute is organized in collaboration with the BREAD, NBER and CEPR networks of academic economists.
 
This call invites you to submit a paper or express your interest in attending the above Summer Institute, which will be hosted online this year by Tsinghua University, during 25-27 August 2021. The workshop intends to bring together the best scholars working on China in China, the US and Europe with other top level scholars who have an interest in working on China in the future. We welcome applications not only from those who want to present their research on China but also from anybody who has an interest in doing serious economic research on China and would like to use the workshop as means of exploring this possibility.
 
During the workshop for a period of three days, there will be seminar presentations. Senior scholars who will attend will be available for consultations with junior scholars. Afternoon sessions will give the opportunity to a select group of young scholars and Ph.D students to present their work.
 
The scientific committee of the China Economics Summer Institute is composed of Chong-En Bai, Ruixue Jia, Hongbin Li, Ernest Liu, Yi Lu, Albert Park, Gérard Roland, Zheng (Michael) Song, Heiwai Tang, Daniel Xu, Xiaobo Zhang, Yifan Zhang, and Li-An Zhou.
 
Please register online (https://cloud.itsc.cuhk.edu.hk/mycuform/view.php?id=986684) for possible presentation at the meeting or expressions of interest in attending the meeting by 7 May 2021 (Friday).
  
If you need further information, please do not hesitate to contact us.
 
Yours sincerely,
 
China Economics Summer Institute (CESI)
Website: http://cesi.econ.cuhk.edu.hk/
Email: [email protected]

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