The Treaty Port Economy in Modern China: Empirical Studies of Institutional Change and Economic Performance

The Treaty Port Economy in Modern China: Empirical Studies of Institutional Change and Economic Performance

The Treaty Port Economy in Modern China: Empirical Studies of Institutional Change and Economic Performance

The Treaty Port Economy in Modern China: Empirical Studies of Institutional Change and Economic Performance

Synopsis

"Through eight empirical studies, this volume explores the interplay between institutional change and economic performance in a constructed model of the treaty port economy in late-Qing and Republican China"--Provided by publisher.

Excerpt

Billy K. L. So

The eight empirical studies presented in this volume illustrate the complex relationship of institutional change and higher efficiency economic performance within the historical context of modern China. Together they suggest what an institutional approach can offer in assessing China’s long-term economic development. These studies also suggest how the discourse on institution and performance can be informed by specific case studies on China.

In this introductory essay, I offer the analytical framework under which the empirical studies are organized so as to address the previously mentioned issues. I draw first on John King Fairbank’s classical account of the treaty port system and an extended conceptualization of this historical phenomenon, which leads to the notion of a form of regional economy in modern China that we refer to as the “treaty port economy.” Following that, I outline the rise of the treaty port economy based on the well-documented context of China’s economic development from the middle of the nineteenth century to the early decades of the twentieth century. the third section contextualizes the institutional framework of Douglass C. North in light of the Chinese treaty port economy. the final two sections give a brief account of each empirical case and organize them under the two themes of performance under institutional change and of dynamics in institutional change. This intoductory chapter then concludes with theoretical reflections that arise from the themes and empirical studies presented in this book.

Naturally, this does not mean that every contributor to this volume shares the same institutional concerns. Rather, the diverse approaches of their individual research agendas on the modern Chinese economy converge in a mutually reinforced institutional conceptualization that is the main task of this introductory essay.

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