Political Economy of China
A Smith College course
Go to Introduction to the Chinese Economy: A First Year Seminar to see the current Mount Holyoke College course.
This course will be taught in the Spring semester on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:30 to 11:50 a.m.
For registration information, please contact the Smith College Registrar
Dr. Satya J. Gabriel
Associate Professor of Economics
e-mail: sgabriel@mtholyoke.edu
FAX: 413-538-2323



This course provides East Asian Studies and Economics students with a survey of the economic institutions and processes shaping the Chinese economy, including fiscal and monetary policy, financial institutions and financial sector reforms, the restructuring of state-owned enterprises, and the provision of social welfare.  The course begins with an overview of China's post-revolutionary economic history and then procedes with an analysis of contemporary economic institutions and the post-Maoist-era economic reforms.  The course has a strong development/comparative economic systems focus and will allow students to critically examine the claim of China's political leadership to be constructing "socialism with Chinese characteristics."  Prequisites:  Introductory Macroeconomics and Microeconomics.



All of the readings for this course will be available online, unless otherwise noted.


The grade for this course will be determined by two midterm examinations (30% of grade each), a final examination (30% of grade), and a web page (which will include at least one short student essay).

Course calendar

Jan. 30  Course introduction.
The Long March by Dr. Dmitry Shlapentokh

Jan. 31-Feb. 1  Theoretical Issues in Analyzing the Chinese Economy & Introduction to Chinese Economic History
Discussion Question:  What is communism and to what extent is this the goal of the Chinese Communist Party?

Resnick & Wolff, "Communism: Between Class & Classless" in Rethinking Marxism, Vol. 1, No. 1 (Spring 1988).  This reading will be available on reserve.
Gabriel, " Essay No. 1: Capitalism, Socialism, and the 1949 Chinese Revolution."
Gabriel, " Essay No. 2: Real Tigers and Paper Tigers: Feudalism, Self-exploitation, and the 1949 Chinese Revolution "

Feb. 6-8  Foundations:  The Chinese Economy from the Revolution thru the Great Leap Forward
Discussion Question:  What are the key factions in the Chinese Communist Party and what are the differences in their view of economic and political development?

Gabriel, "Essay No. 3: The Structure of a Post-Revolutionary Economic Transformation: The Chinese Economy from the 1949 Revolution to the Great Leap Forward".
Gabriel, "Essay No. 4: The Great Leap Forward".
Feb. 13-15 Foundations:  The Chinese Economy after the Great Leap Forward and During the Cultural Revolution
Discussion Questions:  What was Mao's vision for China?  Did Mao fail?  How did the Maoist era create the conditions for the Reform era?

Gabriel, "Essay No. 5: Pragmatism & the Aftermath of the Great Leap Forward ".
Gabriel, "Essay No. 6: Income Inequality in China's Post-Great Leap Forward Era".

Feb. 20-22  Foundations:  The Reform Era
Discussion Question:  What did Deng Xiaoping mean by touching the stones while crossing the river?

Gabriel, "Essay No. 7: Economic Liberalization in Post-Mao China: Touching the Stones While Crossing the River".
Gabriel, "Essay No. 8: Technological Determinism & Market Socialism: Socialism with Chinese Characteristics".
Gabriel & Martin, " China: The Ancient Road to Communism".

Feb. 27-March 13  Contemporary China: Fiscal and Monetary Policy
Discussion Questions:  How has the reform process complicated the macroeconomic management of China's economy?  What reforms in the fiscal and monetary institutions are necessary to improve transparency and reduce corruption?

Gabriel, "Essay No. 9: Fiscal & Monetary Policy in China: Riding the Crisis Tiger".
Gabriel, "Essay No. 10: Mao, Money, and Foreign Exchange".
Gabriel, "Essay No. 11: Is Banking Reform in China Still on Track?".
Jun Ma, "Macroeconomic Reforms: An Overview".
Jun Ma, "Banking Reform: From Administrative Control to a Regulatory Framework".
Rudi Dornbusch and Francesco Giavazzi, "Heading Off China's Financial Crisis".

March 15  First Midterm Examination

March 17-25 Mid-semester Break

March 27-April 5  Contemporary China:  Restructuring State-owned Enterprises
Discussion Question:  What are the key problems that must be solved in order to generate more rapid economic growth in the industrial sector?

Gabriel, "Essay No. 13: Ambiguous Capital:  The Success of China's New Capitalists in the Township and Village Enterprises and Their Impact on the State Sector".
Jun Ma, "Policy Environment for State-Owned Enterprises and Town-Village Enterprises".
Jun Ma, "Shareholding Experiment, Modern Enterprise System, and State-Owned Enterprise Reform".

April 10-12  Contemporary China:  The Social Safety Net
Discussion Question:  How has the economic reform process changed social welfare in China?

Wong & Gabriel, "The Impact of Health Care Reforms on Urban Residents in Nanjing, China".

April 17  Second Midterm Examination

April 19-May 3 Contemporary China:  Financial Markets and the Impact of Globalization on China
Discussion Question:  What will be the role of financial markets in China's future economic development?

Gabriel, "Essay No. 12: Exploring the Alphabet Soup of Chinese Financial Markets".
Jun Ma, "Development of the Stock Markets".
Gabriel, "Globalization".
Jun Ma, "Export Promotion Strategies".

May 8  Last Day of Classes

Library of Congress -- China Country Study Page
China Internet Information Center
Jennifer Jackson, Impact of Capitalism on Modern Chinese Women

Copyright © 2000-2001, Satya Gabriel, Economics Department, Mount Holyoke College.