The Quantitative History of China, ca. 960-1949

 

 

 

 

 

For more information contact Bas van Leeuwen (bas.vanleeuwen1@googlemail.com)

Introduction of the project

For a long time now, there has been a real lack of quantitative information on the economy of China. Recently, some volume shave appeared dealing with, for example, price series as well as with some other isolated topics, but as yet a systematic overview of long-run quantitative data is still lacking. This becomes especially problematical since economic and social history is increasing relying on quantitative methods. 

Therefore, in a combined effort of several Western and Chinese scholars and research institutions, a project is set up to collect data for the compilation of a Chinese historical statistics between ca. 960 AD and 1949 (i.e. between the Song dynasty and Republican China). The main objective is to fill in the gap in the quantification of the economy of China and to analyze its long-term evolution in this period. This will be done by individual scholars focusing on individual sectors of the Chinese economy.

Set up of the project

A) Academic committee of the book series: This committee safeguards the academic quality of the series. Persons who have already agreed to join this committee:

Prof. Dr. Jan Luiten van Zanden (Utrecht University)
Prof. Dr. Shi Zhihong (CASS)
Prof. Dr Bas van Bavel (Utrecht University)
Prof. Dr. Cheng Zhengping(Tsinghua University)
Prof. Dr. James Lee (Hong Kong University of Science & Technology)
Prof. Dr. Li Bozhong (Hong Kong University of Science &Technology)

B) Our project is made of two subprojects. The first subproject focuses on Later Imperial China (i.e. from Northern Song dynasty to Qing dynasty). In this subproject, we are cooperating with Prof. Shi zhihong’s project of historical GDP in Qing dynasty and Dr. Liu Guangling’s project of historical GDP in Song dynasty. The second subproject focuses on Modern China (i.e. between 1840 and 1949) in which we are cooperating with Prof. Cheng Zhengping’s project of historical statistics in Modern China. Brill will publish individual book series for each subproject. 

C) Editors for books series of Quantitative History of China: ca. 960~1911: (they will edit, and provide suggestions for, all books)

Editor-in-chief: Dr. Bas van Leeuwen (Utrecht University, Netherlands)
Associate Editor: Dr. Xuyi (Guangxi Normal University, China)     
Dr. Peter Foldvari (Utrecht University, Netherlands)

Editors for books series of Quantitative History of China: ca. 1912~1949

Editor-in-chief: Prof. Dr. Cheng Zhengping (Tsinghua University, China)
Associate Editor: Dr. Bas van Leeuwen (Utrecht University, Netherlands)   
              Dr. Peter Foldvari (Utrecht University, Netherlands)

D) Each book will deal with a topic as well as one (or multiple) time periods (i.e. Song/Yuan dynasty, Ming dynasty, Qing dynasty, or Republican China). Suggested topics may include (but are not restricted too) the following:

1. Agriculture
2. Mining and forestry
3. Textiles
4. Metallurgy and other industry
5. Trade and transport over land
6. Trade and transport over water
7. Government finance
8. Education, science and technology
9. Money, banking, and coinage
10. Criminal statistics
11. Wages and prices
12. Interest rates (both in money and crops, i.e. agricultural loans)
13. Urbanization
14. Health
15. Population
16. Labour force
17. Climate/weather
18. Geography/maps

D) Each book will consist of two parts. In part 1 the existing research on the topic is described, as well as its role in economy and society in China. In part 2 historical data is given (both from secondary sources as from archival research), including the sources (where the data come from), and a clarification of these data. 

 

Work in progress

The following topics are currently being collected and written up with more to follow in the near future:

 

Quantitative History of Modern China, ca. 1840-1949 

1) The quantitative economic history of China, ca. 1840-1949: agriculture (by prof. Shi Zhihong) 

2) The quantitative economic history of China, ca. 1840-1949: industry (by prof. Zhang Zhongmin)

3) The quantitative economic history of China, ca. 1840-1949: international trade (by prof. Cheng Zhengping)

4) The quantitative economic history of China, ca. 1840-1949: government finance (by dr. Xuyi)

5) The quantitative economic history of China, ca. 1840-1949: prices (by dr. Guan Hanhui)

6) The quantitative economic history of China, ca. 1840-1949: education, literacy and science. (by dr. Pei Gao)

7) The quantitative economic history of China, ca. 1840-1949: Railways. (by prof. Zhucong Ping).

 

Quantitative History of Later Imperial China, ca. 960-1912

1) The quantitative economic history of China, ca. 960-1912: agriculture, ca. 1644-1912 (by prof. Shi Zhihong).

2) The quantitative economic history of China, ca. 960-1912: government finance, ca. 1368-1644.  (by dr. Yu Qingliang).

3) The quantitative economic history of China, ca. 960-1912: agriculture, ca. 1368-1644 (by prof. Shi Zhihong and dr. Li Chengyan).

4) The quantitative economic history of China, ca. 960-1912: government finance, ca. 1644-1912.  (by prof. Shi Zhihong, dr. Xuyi)

5) The quantitative economic history of China, ca. 960-1912: education, literacy and science, ca. 1644-1912. (by dr. Bas van Leeuwen, dr. Peter Foldvari, Dr. Xuyi)

6) The quantitative economic history of China, ca. 960-1912: trade and transport, ca. 1644-1912. (by dr. Ni Yuping)

7) The quantitative economic history of China, ca. 960-1912: Wages and prices, ca. 1368-1644. (by dr. Wang Zhun Wang).

8) The quantitative economic history of China, ca. 960-1912: Industry, ca. 1368-1912. (by dr. Xuyi and dr. Yu Qingliang).

9) The quantitative economic history of China, ca. 960-1912: Trade and transport, ca. 960-1279. (by dr. Su Jinhua).

10) The quantitative economic history of China, ca. 960-1912: Population and urbanization, ca. 1368-1949. (by prof. Cao).

11) The quantitative economic history of China, ca.  960-1912: Government finance, money and banking, ca. 980-1368. (by dr. Liu Guanglin). 


Forthcoming events

25th - 27th September: Quantitative Analysis of Chinese Economic Performance 960-1911 (Guangxi Normal University, Guangxi, China) 

 

Results

The results of the project contain the following papers (updated 20 Sept 2012):

- Bas van Leeuwen, Jieli van Leeuwen-Li, and Péter Földvári, 'Regional human capital in Republican and New China: Its spread, quality and effects on economic growth,' 26 July 2011 (pdf, 18 pp, 527Kb).

- Jan Luiten van Zanden and Bas van Leeuwen, 'Persistent but not consistent: The growth of national income in Holland 1347–1807 ,' Explorations in Economic History , Vol. 49 (2) 2012, pp. 119-130.

-Xuyi and Bas van Leeuwen (2012), ‘A re-estimation of mass literacy in China in the 19th century,’ Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Institute of History: Qing Forum, (forthcoming). (徐 毅, Bas van Leeuwen (2012), 19世纪中国大众识字率的再估算, 中国社会科学院历史研究所办:《清史论丛》). (pdf, 6 pp, 359 kb).

- Bas van Leeuwen, Adam Izdebski, Guanglin Liu, Xuyi, and Péter Földvári, 'Bridging the gap: agrarian roots of economic divergence in Eurasia up to the late middle ages ,' Paper presented at the “World Economic History Congress” , Stellenbosch 7 – 13 July 2012 (pdf, 32 pp, 607 kb).

- Dmitry Didenko, Péter Földvári and Bas van Leeuwen, 'Does economic change really create inspiration? Inspiration versus perspiration in the former USSR area and China, ca. 1920-2010,' Paper presented at the Asian Historical Economics Conference, Japan, September 2012. (pdf, 17 pp, 252Kb).

- Xuyi, Péter Földvári and Bas van Leeuwen, 'Human capital in Qing China: economic determinism or a history of failed opportunities?,' Paper presented at the Asian Historical Economics Conference, Japan, September 2012. (pdf, 17 pp, 708Kb).

- Péter Földvári, Bas van Leeuwen, and Jieli van Leeuwen-Li, 'Market performance in China from Han Dynasty to New China, ca. 200BC to AD 1949,' Paper presented at the Asian Historical Economics Conference, Japan, September 2012. (pdf, 33 pp, 732Kb).

- Steve Broadberry, Bruce Campbell, and Bas van Leeuwen, '"When did Britain Industrialise?" The Sectoral Distribution of the Labour Force and Labour Productivity in Britain, 1381-1851,' Explorations in Economic History , (Forthcoming).