fbpx Rising Chinese Economic Power | Harvard Kennedy School
Program Overview

By some measures China has overtaken the United States as the world’s largest economy and could be on a path to do the same in information technology, artificial intelligence and biotech. How should the U.S. respond?

There is broad agreement to pressure China to make significant changes in its treatment of intellectual property, fairness in regulating foreign investors, access to the service sector, and subsidies to state-owned companies. China’s rejection of democratic norms in its expansive international development programs, China’s increased use of domestic repression, its rapidly increasing military power, and its determination to enlarge its role in the world may pose significant challenges to the established international order. At the same time many of China’s policies and interests facilitate other countries’ development, including America’s, and complement existing institutions. Conflicts and complementarity must be balanced. This program looks at research from across Harvard for the best policies, ideas and advice for how best to respond to the many challenges posed by China's expanding role on the world stage. 

Senior Leadership

Lawrence H. Summers

Lawrence H. Summers

Charles W. Eliot University Professor
Director, Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government

William H. Overholt

William H. Overholt

Senior Research Fellow
Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government

Featured Publications

China and America: A new game in a new era. William H. Overholt, 8/16/2019

China and Japan: Facing History. Ezra F. Vogel, Harvard University Press, 7/30/2019

Yesterday’s Cold War Shows How to Beat China Today. Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy, 7/29/2019

Is the China model a threat? William H. Overholt, 7/7/2019

Measuring China’s Economic Reform Progress. Dwight H. Perkins, China Economic Review 53: 342-350, February 2019

There Is No Sino-American Trade War. Martin Feldstein, Project Syndicate, 1/29/2019

Harvard’s Rogoff explains why China has become a ‘problem place’. Ken Rogoff, Yahoo Finance, 1/22/2019

Sino-American relations: a strategic overview. William H. Overholt, January 2019

Europe’s Future Is as China’s Enemy. Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy, 1/22/2019

Trump's Trade Game. Dani Rodrik, Project Syndicate, 1/16/2019

The Hell of Good Intentions: America's Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy. Stephen M. Walt. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 10/16/2018

Rising Powers and the Risks of War: A Realist View of Sino-American Relations. Stephen Walt, Will China's Rise Be Peaceful?: The Rise of a Great Power in Theory, History, Politics, and the Future. Ed. Asle Toje. Oxford University Press, 2018

Additional Resources
Research and Op-Eds

5 Very Important Things About the World Nobody Knows. Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy, 4/2/2019

Eric Rosenbach on China: Challenges for U.S. Commerce. Eric Rosenbach, Testimony before the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, March 7, 2019

China’s Crisis Of Success. William H. Overholt, 2/25/2019

International Cooperation in East Asia to Address Climate Change. Robert N. Stavins and Robert C. Stowe, eds., Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, 2018.

How Do China’s New Rich Give Back? Anthony Saich, The China Questions: Critical Insights into a Rising Power. Ed. Jennifer Rudolph and Michael Szonyi. Harvard University Press, pp.148-154, 2018

China's Rise as Geoeconomic Influencer: Four European Case Studies. Philippe Le Corre, M-RCBG Associate Working Paper No. 104, 2018

China and the End of the Cold War in Europe. Arne Westad, Cold War History 17.2: 111-113, June 2017

Washington may bluster but cannot stifle the Chinese economy. Lawrence Summers, Financial Times, 12/3/2018. Also here in the Washington Post

Can Anything Hold Back China’s Economy? Lawrence H. Summers, Financial Times, December 5, 2018

To Serve the People: Income, Region and Citizen Attitudes towards Governance in China (2003–2016). Jesse Turiel, Edward Cunningham, and Anthony Saich, The China Quarterly: 1-30, April 2019

China's Crisis of Success. William H. Overholt, Cambridge University Press, 2018

China and America: The Age of Realist Geoeconomics. William H. Overholt, 2018

Exposing China’s Overseas Lending. Carmen Reinhart, Project Syndicate, 10/31/2018

Human-Capital Externalities in China. Edward L. Glaeser  and Ming Lu, National Bureau of Economic Research, August 2018

The great betrayal: How America's elites are failing to confront the challenges of trade politics. William Overholt, The International Economy, 31(1), 33-39, 2017

China and the evolution of the world economy. William H. Overholt, China Economic Review, 40, 267-271, 2016

Can the Trading System Survive US–China Trade Friction? Robert Lawrence, China & World Economy, 26(5), 62-82, 2018

Why China Won't Yield to Trump. Jeffrey A. Frankel, Nikkei Asian Review, April 18, 2018.

Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap? Graham Allison, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017

Searching for Mao in Xi Jinping’s China. Roderick MacFarquhar, Boston Review, 9/8/2017

What Does General Secretary Xi Jinping Dream About? Anthony Saich, Ash Center Occasional Papers Series, August 2017

China's RMB Internationalization Strategy: Its Rationales, State of Play, Prospects and Implications. Hyo-Sung Park, M-RCBG Associate Working Paper #63, 2016

Governance and Politics of China. Tony Saich, Palgrave Macmillan, 2015

Land Bargains and Chinese Capitalism: The Politics of Property Rights under Reform. Meg Rithmire, Cambridge University Press, 2015

Asiaphoria Meets Regression to the Mean. Lant Pritchett, Lawrence H. Summers, NBER Working Paper No. 20573, 2014

Overcoming the Great Recession: Lessons from China. Liu He, M-RCBG Associate Working Paper #33, 2014

China Programs at the Ash Center

China Programs at the Kennedy School's Ash Center engages Chinese scholars, policymakers, business and non-profit leaders, and students to analyze key policy challenges both within China and in China’s increasing global engagement. This is accomplished this through three sets of related activities: research; teaching, including tailored executive education; and fellowships. Learn more.

Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies

Harvard's Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies is a post-graduate research center promoting the study of modern and contemporary China from a social science perspective. The center promotes new research and public understanding of China’s interactions with the rest of the world. Learn more.

Harvard University Asia Center

The Harvard University Asia Center's mission is to generate and share knowledge about Asia from transnational and transregional perspectives. It fosters teaching, collaboration, and innovation across and beyond cultural and disciplinary boundaries. Learn more.