China’s Economy: Challenges Created by the Reform Era

China’s economic reforms have caused rapid growth for a period of forty years. The Chinese Communist Party’s gradualist approach to reform was not inevitable. What were the alternative routes and why were they abandoned? What new obstacles for further Chinese economic development may change its future course?

Illustration photo.


Due to unforeseen circumstances this event will be postponed by one week. The new time is 8th of September 3pm Oslo time. All welcome!

International time: 21:00 Beijing, 15:00 Oslo, 09:00 (AM) Washington DC.

Sign-up for the seminar


Book coverIsabella Weber will present her new book “How China Escaped Shock Therapy: The Market Reform Debate”. The book is inspired by the question of how history has played out so differently in the Russian and East German socialist contexts compared with the Chinese. ‘Shock therapy’ refers to the reform package including instant price liberalization, followed by privatization and trade liberalization. Weber’s book traces repeated attempts at such price liberalization in China, as well as its debate among Chinese reform economists. The alternative route of gradualist experimentation was thus not inevitable in China, and Weber explains the context behind this political result.


Book coverScott Rozelle will present his recent book “Invisible China: How the Urban-Rural Divide Threatens China’s Rise“, co-written with Natalie Hell. In this book, the authors highlight ‘the middle-income trap’, and how China’s rapid economic growth puts the country in danger of experiencing stagnation and decline due to especially one important factor: an underlying human capital crisis. Lack of education in rural China, as well as not being able to take full advantage of new resources delegated to education in recent years, are understood in the context of the invisible problems of basic health issues and insufficient nutrition for rural children. Rozelle will explain how his research in the countryside in China highlights that nutrition, health, and education play crucial roles in the current stage of Chinese economic development.



Scott Rozelle

Scott Rozelle

Professor in international agricultural policy and senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. His research explores agricultural policy in China, the emergence and evolution of markets and other economic institutions in the transition process, as well as the economics of poverty and inequality. His book, “Invisible China: How the Urban-Rural Divide Threatens China’s Rise” (2020), co-written with Natalie Hell, highlights the role of rural education, health and nutrition in the larger picture of Chinas economic policies. 


Isabella Weber

Isabella Weber

Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her work in political economy focuses on China, global trade and the history of economics. In her new book,How China Escaped Shock Therapy: The Market Reform Debate” (2021), she uncovers the fierce reform debate that shaped China’s path, offering a new perspective on the origins of China’s distinctive economic model. 


Wendy Leutert

Wendy Leutert

Assistant Professor at Indiana University. Her research focuses on the reform and global expansion of China’s state-owned enterprises, leadership of Chinese state-owned companies, the politics of Chinese economic reform, and corporate governance. She will chair this seminar.




Heidi Østbø Haugen

The seminar series is hosted by Heidi Østbø Haugen, professor of China Studies at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages. She heads the ERC-funded project Brokering China’s Extraversion: An Ethnographic Analysis of Transnational Arbitration (Brokex).


Other events in the Brokex Autumn 2021 Seminar Series


Inequality in Contemporary China

Date and time: 6 October 2021. 21:00 (Beijing), 15:00 (Oslo), 09:00 (EST). Sign-up.

Reza Hasmath: Ethnicity and Inequality in China

Manfred Elfstrom: Workers and Change in China: Resistance, Repression, Responsiveness

Discussant: Jingyu Mao


China has Arrived as a Geopolitical Superpower

Date and time: 3 November 2021. 22:00 (Beijing), 15:00 (Oslo), 10:00 (EST). Sign-up.

Shaun Breslin: China Risen? Studying Chinese Global Power

Elizabeth Economy: The World According to China

Discussant: Amy Qin


Chinese Roads of Communication: Narratives of Connectivity

Date and time: 1 December 2021. 22:00 (Beijing), 15:00 (Oslo), 09:00 (EST). Sign-up.

Gary Sigley: China´s Route Heritage: Mobility Narratives, Modernity and the Ancient Tea Horse Road

Eyck Freymann: One Belt One Road: Chinese Power Meets the World

Discussant: Özge Söylemez


The seminar is organised by Siv H. Oftedal, researcher at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, as part of the project Brokering China’s Extraversion: An Ethnographic Analysis of Transnational Arbitration (Brokex). The project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 802070) and the Research Council of Norway (project ID 275002). 

EU- and ERC-logos


Published Aug. 17, 2021 11:28 AM - Last modified July 1, 2022 8:32 AM