Paper #1 (Hessler)

Due Monday 25 January 2016

Hard Copy in Class

Please see this page on the website for generic paper guidelines. It should be proofread, cleanly printed with 11pt Times Roman or equivalent font, double-spaced with 1″ margins. Equally, prose should be appropriate to the context. You need a good topic, clearly stated (typically in the first paragraph, often in the first sentence) and concisely phrased. You should not use the passive voice except to vary the rhythm of your prose. A conclusion is not a paper summary – there is no good reason why you should waste the reader’s time by summarizing a short paper! And so on.


Claim: China is an evolving imperial construct, heterogeneous across many dimensions that matter for understanding it as an economy.

Argue: Use an example or set of linked examples from Part I of Country Driving. Some dimensions of what he describes may be primarily cultural – what people eat, how they dress. Others are directly tied to economic behavior. Try to focus on the latter.

Of course what we wear serves as one marker of identity, and can reflect wider behavioral patterns that are more immediately “economic” in nature. Perceived identity also affects how other people treat us, and may open up (or preclude) certain types of work.


Remember that this is an economics paper. Use jargon to the extent that you know it. This is our initial paper, early in the term. So far we have not developed much theory to help you organize data, highlight what might be important, and think about causality. Don’t fret over that. Rather, view this paper as a way to begin raising questions that we ought to address throughout the term.

Suggested length: 3-5 pages, longer the more quotes you use. Please note that I have added the 2015 edition of the China Statistical Yearbook (the list on the right side of the blog). You can find a variety of comparisons there by province, eg Inner Mongolia (内蒙古) versus Beijing.