By Sebastian Maldonado
Economics professor Guoqiang Tian has been awarded the Sun Yefang Award for his book, China’s Reform: History, Logic and Future, which is granted by the Sun Yefang Economic Science Foundation and serves as China’s highest honor in economic science.
In his book, Tian describes China’s economic reform from planned to market economy as “a great social transformation, which involves a series of institutional reforms and innovations.”
His book, published in 2014, analyzes the outline, difficulties and trends of China’s reform and development, which offer relevant information to academia, government and industry in regards to understanding the evolution, inherent logic and speculative future of China’s reform path.
“As a systematic book with theoretical basis, policy analysis and practice observation, it is of significance to academia, industry and government in that they can truly understand China’s reform from different perspectives and angles,” said Tian. “In particular, government policy-makers are important readers of this book. As leaders and implementers of the reform plans, their proper and deep understanding of the inherent logic of reform will be quite critical.”
Tian is the Alfred F. Chalk Professor of Economic Theory who joined the department in 1987 after receiving his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Minnesota. His concentrations include economic theory, mechanism design theory, optimization theory and economics of transition.
Exploring questions regarding reform and development in fourteen different contexts, the text argues that being stable and sustainable depends on logical development and governance.
“Due to China’s specific political, economic, social, and cultural traditions, we must fully consider these as constraints to achieve feasibility and ability to implement, as well as to avoid systemic risk of reform,” said Tian. “Therefore, most existing economic theories adaptive to mature modern Western countries cannot be applied directly to the practice of China’s reform, and we must innovate and come up with appropriate reform methodology to avoid failure of reform.”
Tian has been conducting research on economic theory for just under 30 years and has been studying in the context of China’s reform and development for just under 20 years. Many of his findings and reform proposals have been valued and even adopted by the Chinese government.
“This award is important to me in that my research has been recognized by leading peers in the academic and intellectual community in China,” said Tian. “I wish to especially express my thanks to the College of Liberal Arts and the Department of Economics for providing a very good working environment with full academic freedom and atmosphere, so that I can often visit China to conduct first-hand research and collaboration.”