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The objective of China Economics Summer Institute is to create a network and community of top level scholars working on Chinese economic development. This initiative intends to group 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.
Each year, the Summer Institute brings together in Beijing between 20 and 30 participants for a period of three and a half days. The first half day is devoted to issues of Chinese economic policy. During the next three days, there are seminar presentations and some free time to allow scholars to interact and explore the possibility of doing joint research projects. Senior scholars who attend are available for consultations with junior scholars, usually during the afternoons and there are some lectures by senior scholars.
The scientific committee of the China Economic Summer Institute is composed of Chongen Bai, Robin Burgess, Hongbin Cai, Chang-Tai Hsieh,Hongbin Li, Albert Park, Gérard Roland, Jo Swinnen, Shang-Jin Wei, Chenggang Xu and Yaohui Zhao.
The Summer Institute will create externalities between researchers which would enhance everybody’s research output and quality. This is a rather exceptional format. There are many conferences on China but the general format is one where scholars fly in and out and do not have much time for deep scientific interaction and even less to engage in collaborative projects. Network externalities play a fundamental role in enhancing the quality of research and such a format is set up to maximize these externalities by mixing formal and stimulating presentations with opportunities for joint research.
CESI will also enable the best Chinese scholars to stay in active contact with the best researchers from the rest of the world. Given the very strong institution-building that is taking place in China right now, where many of the best scholars are returning to China, after completing their studies abroadto help the educational institutions attain top world level standards, it is important for them to stay in close contact with other scholars not only by keeping updated on recent research but also by keeping their leadership role in frontier level research projects
CESI will finally provide a forum to encourage the best young Chinese Ph.D students to work on topics related to the Chinese economy. There is currently a clear tendency among the best Chinese Ph.D students to “signal” themselves by not doing research on China but rather to engage in other fields like econometric or economic theory. While we do not want to discourage students to work in these fields, we think there is a high value in encouraging the best students to apply their skills to important questions related to the Chinese economy. Putting together the best Chinese Ph.D students and allowing them to interact with the best senior and junior researchers will provide in our view precisely such a strong encouragement.
The initial plan is to have 30 participants (roughly 10 from each continent) with a balanced mix of senior and junior scholars and Ph.D students. The number should increase while keeping the composition between senior and junior scholars roughly constant. Selection will be very tough but the quality of the selection will be crucial for the success of the program. The selection of participants will be done jointly by the scientific committee.
This initiative has been launched by the UC Berkeley’s Program on Institutions and Governance at IIS with Gerard Roland as principal investigator and the Tsinghua University (School of Economics and Management) with Chongen Bai as representative, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (LICOS-Center for Institutions and Economic Performance) with Professor Jo Swinnen. The University of Chicago Booth School of Business with Chang Tai Hsieh as representative has joined the three founding Institutions.
The Institute is taking place each year in China end of June. The hope is that the formula will be expanded in the future to a more ambitious Asia network.