Economic development is a process of change that goes beyond just economic growth. A well-functioning market is a dynamics more than just how supply and demand meets. In recent decades increased attention has been paid to the context and institutions under which economic activities take place. Understanding the interrelation between markets and institutions can explain much of the differences in economic outcomes across time and space. China’s remarkable growth experience in the past thirty-more years has attracted a lot of academic attentions. China’s development process also entails political change, demographic change, and changing social norms. This course is about understanding the basics of what institutions are and why they are important for understanding differences in outcomes over time in Chinese history. We will do so by examining both micro and macro questions, both theoretically and empirically. The course is not a methods course per se, but we will introduce and apply different methods used in economics, and sometimes political science, to analyze the subject. Therefore, the first part of the class will focus on equipping students some knowledge of formal modeling (such as basic game theory), and applied econometrics. In the second part of the class we take a closer look at institutions in Chinese markets, and in particular how institutions may influence (for good and bad) the prospects for economic and social development in China.

There is no required text book for the course. The core readings will be a mix of academic journal articles, book chapters and lecture notes. These readings are in most cases available online.