About the Summer Institute

The China Economic Summer Institute (CESI) creates externalities between researchers which 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 also enables 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

Finally, CESI provides 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 is currently co-sponsored by the UC Berkeley Center on Institutions and Governance, the Chicago Booth Initiative on Global Markets, the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (Institute for Emerging Market Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Department of Economics, and Social Science Division), and a joint program of the LICOS-Center for Institutions and Economic Performance at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Stanford-CASS Rural Education Action Program.

The Summer Institute is organized in collaboration with the BREAD, CEPR and NBER networks of academic economists, and will next meet at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in August 2013.