HOME教員紹介 ≫ 馬徳斌 MA, Debin

馬徳斌 MA, Debin

教授 / 経済計測研究部門

 専門分野:Economic History, Growth and Development, 
Comparative Institutional and Legal History, Chinese Economy, 
East Asian Studies



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My overall research interest centers on understanding the long-run factors accounting for the rise and fall of national economies with special emphasize on China and East Asia in a comparative perspective. My exploration started with a comparative study on the divergent trajectory of modernization between China and Japan through a case study of the production and export of silk during 1850-1936. This comparative case study served as a springboard for extending the scope of my research to encompass the broader question of growth, development and industrialization as well as political, legal and intellectual history in the East Asian and global context. Going beyond East Asia, I have actively engaged in the Great Divergence debate on why the Industrial Revolution occurred in England but not in China or elsewhere, one of the most important and fascinating questions in global history today. My initial contribution involved the construction of long term, internationally comparable series of real wages, aggregate output (GDP and levels of literacy and numeracy spanning multiple countries that make it possible to pinpoint the timing and magnitude of the Great Divergence.



My current research proceeds in two inter-related fields. On the measurement of the Great Divergence, I have conducting the systematic compilation of 18-20th century high-frequency data on wages, prices and exchange rates from individual merchant books, newspapers and other primary sources. Going beyond measurement, my research now focuses intensively on the ultimate cause of the Great Divergence, delving China’s long run institutional, legal and political history in a comparative context. In particular, I am interested in the rise and consolidation of Chinese absolutism characterized by a highly centralized bureaucratic system. Through the reconstruction of two millennial data series on incidences of warfare, central fiscal revenue, number of dynastic regimes, my research traces the long-term evolution of state-formation and state capacity in imperial China and places ideology and institutions in the center of the Great Divergence debate.  

The second related field is a comprehensive analysis and re-examination of modern Chinese economy from the 19th century onward. Using newly reconstructed quantitative data, I examine some of the key controversial issues for this period, such as the role of the foreign influence in China, the evolution of public finance, the uneven regional and phases of Chinese economic growth. Again, by bringing in ideology and institutions, my research aims to develop a new and integrated account of long-term development that encompasses China's extended periods of slow development as well as the recent experiences of hyper-growth.  One particular case study I am focusing on is the development of International Settlement in Shanghai in 19-20th century. Here, I show how a unique institution revolving around a municipal council dominated by self governing Western businesses supported the rise of Shanghai from a minor market town before the mid 19th century to a global metropolis in trade, industry and finance in early 20th century.

Great Divergence, Historical Living Standards, Chinese Economy, State Capacity