Author Archives: Mike

About Mike

Prof of Economics, Wms School of Commerce, Washington and Lee University, Lexington VA

Chinese Industrial Policy: an automotive example

In Japan, motor vehicles were few and far between in the 1950s, and in 1956 half of all vehicles produced were still 3-wheelers. Car production surpassed that of trucks only in 1969, and it was only from the mid-1970s that … Continue reading

Posted in Home | 6 Comments


This isn’t about China, but it is a particularly clear example of results that rendered nonsense by the failure to distinguish correlation from causation. In this case, it’s a likely outside factor that affects both the “independent” variables (the right-hand … Continue reading

Posted in Home | 3 Comments

BRI: 一带一路

Oct 18 on Bloomberg, China’s Belt and Road Ambitions: China Is Forced to Reconsider Its Route Into Eastern Europe; 16+1 members disappointed as projects fail to materialize China’s historical geopolitics kept it focused on Central Asia. Yes, in the late … Continue reading

Posted in Home | 5 Comments

Foreign Exchange

We analyzed key motives for purchasing foreign exchange. These are: speculation imports portfolio considerations (purchasing US$ assets) direct foreign investment (developing oilfields and building factories and purchasing companies to operate them, eg, not “portfolio”) earn returns (eg, interest) We focused … Continue reading

Posted in Home | 5 Comments

Cell Phones, Value Chains and Technology

A popular meme inside the Beltway is that China is stealing us blind. In the background is the assumption that domestic technological capabilities are minimal, and that anything and everything incorporating technology or design must be stolen or counterfeit. In … Continue reading

Posted in Home | 9 Comments


It’s an exciting time to study the world’s largest economy, with 1.4 billion people and a middle/upper class almost double the size of those of the US or Europe. If you’re a global company such as GM or VW, there’s … Continue reading

Posted in Home | Leave a comment

China’s Future

Today’s powerpoint Chinas Future. I left in the agriculture elasticities slide and other details that we covered earlier in the term. I added details to the open economy savings-investment balance (S-I) + (T-G) = (X-M) to the end.

Posted in Home | Leave a comment

Environmental Issues: Sources

This is the Urban China book in the link on the right – at 550 pages it was too much to assign in class, this chapter alone is 100 pages. Most of the “green” part is on air pollution, including … Continue reading

Posted in Home | Leave a comment

Shanzhai innovation

Posted on by Mike | 3 Comments

Paper for Guest Speaker

Download Murphree & Breznitz

Posted in Home | Leave a comment

Proofreading your own stuff

You – like this post author – are “…almost incapable of reading anything that [you’ve] written before. It’s just too boring when you already know what the next sentence is going to say; at best [you] can skim. So it’s … Continue reading

Posted in Home | Leave a comment

News Links

I use to create a list of news items relevant for the course. You can find those on the right – I use a pre-made “widget” that includes an ad. (A second version should be at the bottom of … Continue reading

Posted in Home | Leave a comment

Exchange rates: Updated

An early topic this term will be foreign exchange rates. After all, we need/want to be able to compare China to other countries, and to understand trade and international finance issues. So here’s a bit of perspective. We also need … Continue reading

Posted in Home | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Texts: Will Update With 1-2 more

Peter Hessler, 2010. Country Driving. NY: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-180409-0 but also in other formats.

Posted in Home | Leave a comment

Winter 2017: MWF 2:30-3:25 pm

This course is targeted at students who have had Economics 101 and 102 (the “Principles” sequence) though in the past motivated students with an interest in China but little economics background have done well. China’s growth is slowing from real … Continue reading

Posted in Home | Leave a comment