University of Pittsburgh
April 17, 2002

National Science Foundation Funds Pitt-led Conferences on Economic Transition in China

Contact:  412-624-4147

April 18, 2002

PITTSBURGH—The National Science Foundation has awarded $90,000 to the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Economics and the Asian Studies Program in Pitt's University Center for International Studies (UCIS) to conduct a series of joint conferences in Toronto in November and at Pitt in the summer or fall of 2003 on the economic transition of China since the late 1970s.

According to conference organizer Thomas G. Rawski, a professor in Pitt's Department of Economics, the idea arose "from the conviction that United States' research and policy communities remain far removed from the comprehensive, integrated, and penetrating understanding of China's economic system that seems essential to the effective pursuit of American interests.

"We have initiated a major interdisciplinary effort focused on China's economic performance since the start of reform in the late 1970s," Rawski continued. "We have assembled a large group of talented researchers who have agreed to join us in pursuing a searching investigation of the underpinnings, dynamics, consequences, and implications of China's remarkable economic performance. We aim to produce a series of studies that will be both pathbreaking and policy-relevant."

The goal of the two conferences is to shape, evaluate, and refine three sets of papers: five overviews that present themes, issues, and methods from the perspectives of history, development, transition, political economy, and society; 15 thematic works focusing on specific dimensions of China's recent economic experience, including growth, government, finance, labor, and agriculture; and three interpretive studies that consider the implications of China's development for its future evolution, China-oriented economics research, and broader studies in social science.

"We expect this work to produce a series of important outcomes," said Rawski. "The conference papers will result in major publications that will systematically address the project's major themes and support coherent research-based conclusions and projections. In addition, we will generate a set of papers that will address specifically the policy implications of the group's findings. We expect our effort to provide a springboard for future China-focused economic inquiry, expand the information base underpinning China-related policy discussions, engage a new group of expert researchers with Chinese economic issues, and stimulate the integration of recent Chinese experience into research on development, transition, and social change."

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