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Nancy Qian



Articles by Nancy Qian

Good and Bad Olympic Nationalism

July 29, 2021

Every two years, critics complain that the Olympic Games elicit chauvinistic attitudes, allowing superpowers to flex their muscles in zero-sum competition with one another. But the Games also inspire healthier responses, particularly among smaller, newer, and poorer countries.

CHICAGO – In addition to being postponed by a year, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games have been steeped in controversy. According to one recent survey, 78% of Japanese citizens thought the Games should be canceled, owing to concerns about the pandemic. Since then, Japanese media have been shining a spotlight on the fact that not all visiting athletes (including 100 from the United States) are vaccinated against COVID-19.
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What Should Development Aid Do?

July 9, 2021

For decades, development aid has gone either to governments that lack the ability to administer it, or to non-government actors who essentially compete with the state. It is time for a new approach centered on a less ambitious but far more practical objective.

CHICAGO – Development aid is one of the most important policy tools that rich countries have for transferring resources to help poor ones. Between 1960 and 2013, OECD countries gave $3.5 trillion (in 2009 dollars) of official development assistance (ODA). Approximately $568 billion (in 2003 dollars) went to African countries.But the efficacy of ODA is a source of much controversy. Former World Bank economist William Easterly and the Nobel laureate economist

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Back to Health: Nancy Qian

July 8, 2021

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The Economic Fundamentals of Chinese Communism’s Successes and Failures

July 5, 2021

From the Great Leap Forward to family-planning restrictions, China’s rise has been marred by serious policy failures. Whether the Communist Party can avoid similar mistakes in the the future will depend on its recognition of a crucial distinction between such interventions and those that have fueled its economic success.

EVANSTON – “Over the past hundred years, the [Communist Party of China] has united and led the Chinese people in writing the most magnificent chapter in the millennia-long history of the Chinese nation,” President Xi Jinping declared at the CPC’s centennial celebration, in a speech that emphasized the Party’s role in driving China’s success, including its economic rise. But the CPC’s economic record

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An Interview with Nancy Qian

June 29, 2021

This week in Say More, PS talks with Nancy Qian, a professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and Founding Director of China Econ Lab and Northwestern’s China Lab.

Project Syndicate: You recently pointed out that economic reporting about China focuses far too much on total GDP and not enough on per capita GDP. In fact, “China remains a poor country, despite its phenomenal headline GDP growth over the past four decades.” For that to change, you say, it must “significantly boost the incomes of a population about the size of that of Sub-Saharan Africa.” Are the government’s plans for the next five years likely to increase per capita GDP? What else should China be doing to tackle domestic

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China’s Three-Child Policy Won’t Help

June 3, 2021

Alarmed by new data showing that its fertility rate is now similar to that of aging Japan, China has announced that it will permit families to have up to three children. Yet without broader reforms to address high costs of living and rural-urban divides, the new policy could make a difficult problem worse.

IRVINE – In an effort to address rapid population aging, China has just announced that it will allow all families to have up to three children. The decision comes on the heels of widely publicized new data showing that the Chinese fertility rate in 2020 was only 1.3 per woman, which is similar to that of Japan (1.36 in 2019) and notably lower than that of the United States (1.7).

Chile’s Constitutional

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China Must Embrace Remote Work

May 13, 2021

The COVID-19 pandemic spurred a far-reaching shift to telecommuting throughout the West. But China has not followed suit, even though the social and environmental payoffs would be far larger than in the US and Europe.

CHICAGO – Before the pandemic, firms and workers around the world used emails and conference calls to reduce communication costs. But a lack of coordination made using these technologies fully difficult. Firing off an email was easy, but there was no guarantee of when the other person would respond. People were reluctant to break old habits. Holding a virtual meeting might be interpreted by participants to mean that the topic wasn’t particularly important. More broadly, low demand discouraged product development,

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The Two Sides of Chinese GDP

April 30, 2021

Many economists care more about China’s per capita GDP, or income per person, than the aggregate measure. The key takeaway is that China remains a poor country, despite its phenomenal headline economic growth over the past four decades.

CHICAGO – Economic reporting about China focuses far too much on total GDP and not enough on per capita GDP, which is the more revealing indicator. And this skewed coverage has important implications, because the two indicators paint significantly different pictures of China’s current economic and political situation. They also focus our attention on different issues.

Share the Intellectual Property on COVID-19

Guillame Souvant/AFP via Getty Images

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