Social Science Research and Economic Policy Formulation: The Academic Side of Economic Reform



The resurgence of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences after 1977, the renewed emphasis on tertiary education since the fall of the ‘Gang of Four’, and the evolution of the economic reforms begun in 1978 have combined to transform dramatically the nature and role of economic studies in China. Economic questions are no longer debated in terms of a political polemic within a limited analytical framework. The monopoly of a small number of official journals and newspapers in defining the content of economic discussion has been broken. The restriction of published economic debate to the pronouncements of anonymous writers or writing groups and authoritative statements by Party leaders, and the limitation of legitimate’ issues to a small number of theoretical and organisational problems has disappeared. Instead there has been a great outpouring of discussion, debate and information. The new emphasis on the study of ‘objective economic laws’ has softened the polemical aspects of debate over economic theory. The call to ‘seek truth from facts’ has encouraged economists to adopt an empirical approach and to be more adventurous in their interpretation of analytical categories. Hongqi and Renmin ribao are no longer the major sources of economic discussion and have been displaced by a plethora of specialised journals and newspapers, university publications and popular weeklies and magazines.


Economic Reform Policy Formation Provincial Level Cultural Revolution Chinese Economist 
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Notes and References

  1. 7.
    Xu Dixin et al., Zhengzhi Jingjixue Cidian, 3 vols (Beijing: Renmin Chubanshe, 1980, 1980 and 1981).Google Scholar
  2. 19.
    Liu Guoguang, ‘The new tasks for economic theorists’, Jingjixue Zhoubao, 56, 24 January 1983, p.1.Google Scholar
  3. 33.
    For an outline of the issues involved see Cyril Lin, op. cit., and also A. Watson, ‘The Management of the industrial economy; the return of the economists’, in J. Gray and G. White (eds), Chinas New Development Strategy (Academic Press, 1982), pp.87–118.Google Scholar
  4. 35.
    See Teng Weizao, ‘Socialist modernisation and the pattern of foreign trade’ in Xu Dixin et al., China’s Search for Economic Growth (Beijing, 1982), pp. 167–92.Google Scholar
  5. 36.
    See the discussion in Liu Zheng, Song Jian et al., China’s Population: Problems and Prospects (Beijing, 1981).Google Scholar
  6. 43.
    Wei Kenan, ‘On the emergence, development and important role of the specialised households in China’s rural areas’, Nongye Jingji Wenn, 9, 1983, p.19.Google Scholar
  7. 44.
    Tang Mingxi, ‘The sudden growth of the new-style family economy in the Chinese countryside,’ Jingji Yanjiu, 12, 1983, pp.42–7.Google Scholar
  8. 45.
    Jin Yao et al., ‘On the family economy and the planning of agriculture’, Nongye Jingji Wenti, 10, 1983, pp.31–4.Google Scholar

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© Michael B. Yahuda 1987

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