Leading Issues in the Global Economy


Economic forces are the fundamental drivers of the changes of today' s complicated world, and therefore effective business and political leaders must not only understand existing major economic issues, but also be able to prepare for future developments of such issues. China's rapid and continued economic emergence presents many fascinating and intriguing issues. The Chinese economy has already become one of the world's most important economic entities. This course surveys crucial issues of the global economy from Chinese and non-Chinese perspectives. In the process, the course aims to provide a set of analytical tools to understand and to prepare for the impact of major economic changes.

Applicable TowardsCore
Department Schwarzman Scholars
Credits 3
FacultyDavid Daokui Li

Course Structure

This is an eight week course (one module) addressing a new topic each week:

  1. Introduction - China's World View
    China is both one of the world's oldest countries and one undergoing rapid changes. The rapid emergence of China's economy is shaking up the landscape of the world economy and politics. How do China's decision makers analyze and perceive today's world? What are their views on major global affairs? Why do they have different views from other countries, especially those in the developed West? How does China's history and philosophy shape their outlook of the world? What are the likely prospects for China's future economy?
  2. Economic Growth and Structure
    Why do different economies in the world have varied paces of growth? What are the major blocks of today's global economy? What are the major patterns of economic growth? How is the global economy evolving with diverse growth rates across different countries? What are the implications for global savings, investment and imbalance?
  3. Reforms
    Reforms refer to large-scale institutional changes. Why are some countries able to implement progressive reforms faster than others? What are the obstacles to reforms? What are the drivers and mechanisms related to reforms? What lessons can be learned from China's reforms of the past decades?
  4. Trade
    Why is international trade one of the most reliable drivers of economic growth? What are the forces promoting trade across borders? What are the obstacles to trade? How is global trade evolving? Why are global institutions governing trade important? What are the prospects of globalization characterized by increasing the intensity of the flow of trade?
  5. Finance
    Why is finance critical to both developing and advanced economies? Why and how should financial sectors be regulated? How is today's global finance taking shaping? Why do financial crises occur? Are financial crises preventable? Should cross border capital flow be completely freed?
  6. Poverty and Inequality
    How large is the world population living under poverty? Why does poverty persist? What are the effective policies and institutions to reduce poverty? What are the different kinds of inequality? What are the social consequences of inequality? What is the likely trend of inequality in the world? What are the possible policies for reducing inequality?
  7. International Economic Institutions
    Why are international institutions necessary for a stable and prosperous economy? What are the essential elements of the existing global international economic institutions which were established in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire in 1944? What are the achievements and remaining problems of the Bretton Woods institutions? What are the likely reforms to the Bretton Woods institutions? Who are the stakeholders in such reforms? What are the perspectives of such issues? What are the Chinese, U.S. and European perspectives on such reforms?
  8. Sustainable Growth
    What are the major threats to sustainable growth of the global economy? What are the forces supporting or going against sustainable growth? What measures and institutions are essential to maintaining sustainable growth for the world economy?

Teaching Style

The course endeavors to provide multiple perspectives and to promote dialectical debates in every class. Proactive learning of the students is strongly encouraged. The instructors will rely primarily on directly engaging with the students, where they will be challenged and constantly brought into debates and discussions. Authoritative figures in relevant areas from around the world will be brought in to participate in these debates and provide a diversity of opinions and views.

Visiting Faculty and Guests Lecturers from around the world will play a key role in providing diverse perspectives throughout the course. These individuals will typically participate in one or two classes. Formats for their participation can include but are not limited to: town hall style discussions with the students, discussion with the instructor of the course followed by Q&A with the students, debate/panel discussion with other leading figures in their field, etc.

Leading academic economists and senior figures from global economic and financial institutions have already agreed to serve as guest lecturers for this course in 2016/2017.


Lead Faculty

David Daokui Li is the Mansfield Freeman Chair Professor of Economics and the Dean of the Schwarzman Scholars, Tsinghua University.

As a leading Chinese economist, Professor Li is active in policy advising and discussions. He served on China’s Monetary Policy Committee and was an external advisor to the International Monetary Fund. He is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Committee (CPPCC) and a member of the Global Agenda Council of the World Economic Forum based in Switzerland.

Professor Li holds a B.S. and Ph.D. in economics from Tsinghua University and Harvard University, respectively.



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