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Past Lectures

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Bo Li
The Macroeconomics of Climate Change: Key Issues, Policy Responses, and International Cooperation

2024 - Bo Li

Bo Li spoke on the fiscal and financial policy priorities to meet Paris Agreement goals; key policy recommendations ranging from carbon taxation to scaling up climate finance; and challenges and opportunities for international cooperation on climate action.

Picture of Yasheng Huang
Lessons of History: The Rise and Fall of Technology in Chinese History

2023 - Yasheng Huang

China was once the most technologically advanced civilization in the world. Ancient Chinese achievements in technology are simply staggering. China led Europe in metallurgy, ship construction, navigation techniques, and many other fields, often by several centuries. The Chinese also invented gunpowder, paper, the water clock, the moveable printing press, and other consequential technologies way ahead of the West. For example, the Chinese invented the seismograph 1,700 years before the French.

But China’s technological development stalled, stagnated, and eventually collapsed and its early technological leadership did not set the country on a modernization path. In this lecture Professor Yasheng Huang examines the factors behind the rise and the fall of Chinese historical technology and draws lessons for today’s China.

Susan Shirk sitting on a chair
Overreach and Overreaction: The Downward Spiral in the U.S.-China Relations

2022 - Susan Shirk

Why did China abandon its successful foreign policy of restraint and shift toward confrontation and unchecked control over its own society? Susan Shirk will discuss that surprisingly the shift began under Hu Jintao's collective leadership (2002-12). Under the personalistic leadership of Xi Jinping the trend has intensified. Those who implement Xi's directives compete to outdo one another, provoking an even greater global backlash. To counter China's overreach, the worst mistake the rest of the world, and the United States in particular, can make is to overreact. Understanding the domestic political drivers of foreign policy in both countries can help us stem the downward spiral in relations.

Barry Naughton speaking
The Summer of 2021: Consolidation of the New Chinese Economic Model

2021 - Barry Naughton

During the summer of 2021, a “regulatory storm” shook markets in China. While the crackdown had its most immediate effects on private education, internet business, and finance, the government has also rolled out new policies to shape manufacturing and infrastructure, and even household fertility and income distribution. In this talk, Dr. Naughton interprets these actions as an extension of the ongoing Chinese government effort to exercise “grand steerage” of the economy. The new policies of summer 2021 in fact represent the consolidation of a new model, in which the Chinese government decisively steers a predominantly market economy.

Chenggang Xu, PhD
Institutional Genes: A Comparative Analysis of Origins of China’s Institutions

2019 - Xu Chenggang

Professor Xu's talk is based on a book project which studies the origins of contemporary China’s institutions. What are the features of China’s fundamental institutions? What are the origins of these institutions? How and why have these institutions evolved in the ways we observe? Other intimately related questions to be addressed are: why the Chinese endeavors of establishing constitutionalism since the late 19th century ended up with a Soviet type of totalitarian regime in the mid-twentieth century? What are the perspectives of institutional changes and related issues in the future? Professor Xu's analysis compares China’s institutions and their evolutions with their counterparts in the rest of the world, such as the Chinese Empire, the Roman Empire, the European feudal systems, constitutional revolutions/reforms, and the Japanese Empire and its Meiji Restoration, etc. View the presentation slides.

Dan Voytas
Gene-Editing and Advancing Agricultural Development in the 21st Century

2018 - Dan Voytas

Dr. Voytas, Professor of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development at the University of Minnesota, co-inventor of TALEN gene-editing technology, and Chief Technology Officer of Calyxt, will discuss the rapid advancement of plant gene-editing and its implications for global agriculture. A leading expert on plant genetics and an entrepreneur whose company went public in 2017,  Dr. Voytas will examine the role that technologies such as TALEN and CRISPR are having in the development of healthier food and non-GMO plants with agriculturally advantageous traits. View the presentation slides.

Arif Husain
Famines in the 21st Century: The political economy of inaction?

2017 - Arif Husain

Last year [2016] the world signed on to the Sustainable Development Goals whereby promising a world free of hunger by 2030. Today about 800 million people experience chronic hunger on a regular basis; more than 100 million people are severely food insecure; and over 20 million people are at the verge of a famine in four countries—N E Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen. Conflicts coupled with higher frequency and intensity of natural disasters are major contributors to today’s food insecurity crises. The development and humanitarian assistance is under extreme stress to help even those facing famines, so is it unrealistic to envision a hunger free world in the next fifteen years? Husain analyzes the political economy of inaction particularly in a globalized fast changing world—its moral, security, and inter-generational implications! He examines the feasibility of zero hunger and discusses what it will take to get there. View the presentation slides.

Ken Shadlen
Developing Countries in the Globalization of Pharmaceutical Patenting

2016 - Ken Shadlen

Historically most developing countries did not allow patents on pharmaceutical products. Fearing that the costs of having private rights of exclusion over these sorts of inventions would outweigh the benefits, most countries prohibited pharmaceutical patenting. In the closing decades of the 20th Century, however, the global politics of intellectual property underwent a fundamental shift, as new international trade rules made it obligatory for all countries to begin granting pharmaceutical patents. The globalization of pharmaceutical patenting has generated both hope, that increasing the geographic scope of patent protection would yield expanded biomedical innovation, and fear, that increasing the geographic scope of patent protection would put public health budgets under stress and leave many without access to essential medicines. Shadlen analyzes the globalization of pharmaceutical patenting, examining the rise of pharmaceutical patenting, the diversity of national responses to the new global shift, and emerging issues on the horizon. View the presentation slides.

Marcus Kurtz
Rural Development as National Development: Market-Building, Demography, and the Social Foundations of Growth

2015 - Marcus Kurtz

National prosperity is not typically seen as a product of profound agricultural transformation. At the same time, the few sustained post-war economic “miracles” (as in Korea, Taiwan, Japan, for example) have all been in contexts that experienced tremendous transformation of agricultural property rights and political relationships. Kurtz emphasizes the critical importance of agricultural transformation for national development. In the countryside, unlike cities, development-oriented reform typically involves fundamental reforms such as wholesale restructuring of property rights, the creation of basic markets (in land, labor, and commodities), and the disruption of clientelistic and machine politics. Globally the countryside is becoming smaller and less economically central, but the way in which this comes about can make the difference between prosperity and long-term stagnation. View the presentation slides.

Lant Pritchett
The Varieties of the 'deals capitalism' Experience: Past and Future of Asian Growth

2014 - Lant Pritchett

Economic prosperity has come to be associated with good institutions--open markets, electoral democracy, capable bureaucracies. However, it is hard to take that narrative to East Asia where either historically (e.g. Korea in the 1960s) and today (e.g. China, Vietnam) the successful episodes hardly fit the model of open markets supported by "rule of law." Pritchett emphasizes the notion of "deals capitalism" in which proprietor rights grounded in person and organization specific deals dominate neutrally enforced rules of property rights. 

Min Zhu
Asia’s Financial Markets in a Changing World

2013 - Min Zhu

Dr. Zhu will discuss global interconnectedness and the shift in the gravity of growth toward emerging and developing economies. In addition, he will describe the global financial markets and Asia’s position in these markets as well as the role of financial markets in Asia and how they can support sustainable growth in this region. View the presentation slides.

Frederick Chavalit Tsao
Family Business and Sustainability

2012 - Frederick Chavalit Tsao

Mr. Tsao will address the intersection of family and business in the developing world. As Chairman of a family-owned multinational corporation, he is interested in the peculiar challenges faced by family-owned businesses and the role of such businesses in promoting development. He is particularly concerned with the destabilizing effects of rapid economic growth on traditional social structures. Mr. Tsao will discuss recent efforts to promote development while preserving family, social, and cultural harmony.

H. Robert Heller
Financial Market Reform

2011 - H. Robert Heller

Ever since the Great Financial Meltdown of 2008, proposals to make the financial system safer have been discussed widely, but Congress still has not addressed meaningful financial reform. In his lecture Dr. Heller sets forth several original proposals to make the financial system safer. Specifically, he addresses stock market reforms to restore confidence in financial markets, pension reform to make the retirement system more efficient and proposals to make systemically important financial institutions safer. He also addresses the efficacy of other financial reform proposals, such as the "Volcker Rule."

Sir Andrew Crockett
Navigating Turbulent Waters: Central Banks and the Global Financial Crisis

2009 - Andrew Crockett

Sir Andrew Crockett was the President of JPMorgan Chase International, and a member of the Executive Committee of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Before joining JPMorgan Chase, Mr. Crockett had been General Manager of the Bank for International Settlements, serving two five-year terms. At the request of the G-7 Finance Ministers, he also served from 1999-2003 as the first Chairman of the Financial Stability Forum. Earlier in his career, Mr. Crockett had held senior positions at the Bank of England and the International Monetary Fund. Mr. Crockett has also served in the past as Chairman of Working Party 3 of the OECD, as Alternate Governor of the IMF for the United Kingdom, as a member of the Monetary Committee of the European Union, and as a Trustee of the International Accounting Standards Committee Foundation.