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WU, Harry Xiaoying

Adjunct Professor

Growth & Development Economics, Transition Economics and Macroeconomic Measurement


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Previous research

My economic research career began with studies on employment problems in economic development. During the period of my doctoral research under the United Nations DTCD Fellowship (1988-93), I focused on the rural-to-urban labor migration and sectoral transformation in China’s development under central planning and the effect of industrial policy. From the early 1990s, I gradually developed another two dimensions of research: 1) rural enterprise in China and 2) measurement issues of the Chinese national accounts. Most of my rural enterprise studies appeared in a book, Rural Enterprises in China, co-edited with Christopher Findlay and Andrew Watson (1994). Meanwhile, I published my estimates of China’s GDP for 1952-77 using econometric approach (1993), filling a long existing gap, which is the first article in this field. From the mid 1990s to the late 2000s, I engaged in more research activities on measurement issues, including measuring industry-level inputs, output and productivity in the standard production function framework, measuring growth and macro volatility in China, and measuring purchasing power parities (PPPs) between countries including China, Japan, India and the US. My publications in this period mainly appeared in Review of Income and Wealth, China Economic Review, World Economics, International Productivity Monitor and Asian Economic Papers, as well as in book chapters. Another line of my research activities is on institutional problems in transition economics. One of the outputs from this type of research is a book, The Making of China’s Foreign Exchange Rate Policy, co-authored with Leong Liew (2007). During this period, collaborating with others I also translated three of Angus Maddison’s books on quantitative history of the world economy and the Chinese economy.


Current research projects

My current research projects mainly follow three lines. First, I am leading a group to extend my industry-level measure of input, output and productivity from manufacturing to non-manufacturing industries in China, which eventually fits an internationally comparable framework. Along this line I am interested in the effect of energy, natural resources, information technology, as well as trade on China’s productivity performance. Second, incorporating productivity research I am investigating the role of government policy and institutions in economic transition. Third, I am working on the quantitative history of China aiming at constructing historical statistics so that the Chinese modern economic development since the late Qing Dynasty (from the mid 1800s) can be empirically studied and compared with other economies such as Japan’s Meiji period and the US industrialization in the 1800s.


total factor productivity, purchasing power parity, economic reform, growth and macro volatility