About the China Economics Summer Institute (CESI)

The China Economics 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 abroad to 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 20 to 30 participants 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.

CESI is currently co-sponsored by the Department of Economics, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Institute for Emerging Market Studies at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University and the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University. CESI is organized in collaboration with the BREAD, NBER and CEPR networks of academic economists.