Asian Historical Economics Conference 2010 Perspectives on Long-term Economic Development


May 19-21, 2010, the three-day Asian Historical Economics Conference was held at the School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University. The Center for China in the World Economy (CCWE) performed the role as the local host for the event, while the University of Warwick and Hitotsubashi University and two other Chinese institutions, China Association of Historical Economics and Peking University Institute of Economics, co-organized the conference. The conference turned out as a very productive, effective and successful event to present the research results and advance Asian historical economic studies. Both the participants and the co-organizers were satisfied and the preset objectives were achieved.

This conference was the third in a series which began at Hitotsubashi University in 2007 in Tokyo and continued with the second conference at Venice in 2008. The aim of this third conference was to build upon the success of the earlier conferences and to work towards the establishment of a permanent organization to facilitate future meetings on a regular basis. The new Asian Historical Economics Society will bring together researchers working on the economic history of all the main regions of Asia, who seek to break free from the constraints of both the older Eurocentric and the nationalistic, anti-colonialist literatures which have dominated the economic history of these regions. 

The 26 research papers presented at the conference focused on a number of themes of the Great Divergence between Asia and Europe; new interpretations of the colonial legacy; the role of institutions and institutional change; the development of traditional and modern industries; human capital, demographic transitions and migration; market integration and the impact of globalization; historical national accounts for Asian economies; international comparison of income, output and productivity; and international trade and industrialization in Asian economies.

The conference was declared open by CCWE Director David Li and welcomed by Tsinghua SEM Dean Yingyi Qian. Guoguang Liu, one of the most influential economists in China, orally congratulated the conference by a brief but pointed statement on the spot. Keynote remarks were delivered by Donggang Zhang, Vice Director General, Department of Social Sciences, Ministry of Education, Zhikai Dong, Chair of China Association of Historical Economics, Guitian Huang, Associate Dean, Peking University School of Economics and Professor Steve Broadberry, University of Warwick. A special condolence was led by Professor Harry Wu, IER, Hitotsubashi University, to commemorate Angus Maddison, the world prominent historical economist who passed away not long ago after many years of outstanding contribution.