Below are the recipients for the 2016 funding cycle, listed in alphabetical order by last name of the Principal Investigator.

Political Factions, Local Accountability and Economic Performance: Evidence from Chinese Provinces

Principal Investigator: Hanming Fang, Class of 1965 Professor Economics, School of Arts and Sciences

  • Abstract
  • Principal Investigator: Hanming Fang, Class of 1965 Professor Economics, School of Arts and Sciences

    Lead School: School of Arts and Sciences (Department of Economics)

    Penn Partners: N/A

    Chinese Partners: Peking University, Shandong University

    Other Partners: World Bank


    There is a large amount of literature aiming to understand the causes of the cross-country differences in economic growth rates, emphasizing the roles of institutions, infrastructure, human capital, culture, etc. The existing literature, however, does not explain vast differences in the economic performances within much smaller geographical units in the same country or even in the same province.  However, in the data we have collected from Fujian province in China, the annual economic growth rates between 1978 and 1998 ranged from 1.5% per year to 22.5% per year across its 59 counties, and this is robust to the controls of distance to the coast, and the fraction of mountainous areas in the county. What explains the huge disparities in their economic performance?  In this project, Fang will investigate the role of political factions and local accountability in explaining the variations in economic performance across counties in different provinces in China.  

The New East Asia

Principal Investigator: Mauro Guillen, Director, Lauder Institute; Dr. Felix Zandman Professor; Professor of International Management

Co-Principal Investigators: Frederick Dickinson, Co-Director, Lauder Institute; Kenric Tsethlikai, Managing Director, The Lauder Institute

  • Abstract
  • Lead School: The Wharton School, The Lauder Institute

    Penn Partners: Center for East Asian Studies, Center for the Study of Contemporary China, Penn Forum on Japan, The Wharton School (Wharton External Relations)

    Chinese Partners:  Beijing Foreign Studies University, Fudan University

    Other Partners: Waseda University, Sogang University, Singapore National University


    The Penn China Research and Engagement Fund will support curricular development and initiatives related to the Lauder Institute’s East Asia Program of Concentration, which itself is part of the M.A. in International Studies. The East Asia Program includes an intensive summer immersion program that combines five weeks of focused country and language study, and three weeks of regionally-focused study of economic, political and cultural trends.  In 2017, the program will expand its current coverage of Japan, China and South Korea, to include such Southeast Asian countries as Singapore.  Specifically, Penn CREF will support a symposium on integration of East and Southeast Asia economies; a summit on the past and future challenges in East and Southeast Asia; and finally research and Academic Collaborations with partner institutions in China, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore in order to build the East Asia Program curriculum.  

China and Ashkenazic European Jewry: Transnational Encounters

Principal Investigator: Kathryn Hellerstein, Associate Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures & Ruth Meltzer Director of the Jewish Studies Program

Co-Principal Investigators:  XU, Xin, Diane and Guilford Glazer Chair Professor of Jewish and Israel Studies and  Dean of the Glazer Institute of Jewish and Israel Studies, Nanjing University; SONG Lihong, Secretary-General, Chinese National Institute for Jewish Studies, Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Nanjing University, and Deputy Director, Glazer Institute of Jewish Studies, Nanjing University

  • Abstract
  • Lead School: School of Arts and Sciences (Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures)

    Chinese Partners:  Nanjing University (Diane and Guilford Glazer Institute of Jewish and Israel Studies)


    The project aims to study 120 years of cultural exchange between China and Ashkenazic Jewry in Europe, Israel.  By exploring the interchange between China and Ashkenazic Jewry over the past century, this project will examine the depth, subtlety, and complexity of what happens when writers grapple with communicating commonality and difference and try to arrive at mutual understanding. The project will focus on important translations and on literary, ethnographic, religious, and philosophical works that have sparked cultural encounters in both directions, that is, from Yiddish, Hebrew, German, or English texts into Chinese, and from Chinese into these languages. The questions raised by project participants will directly engage the larger issues of cultural exchange, influence, and translation that are of much interest and excitement in the humanities today and that are central to the larger contemporary global dialogue.

SEAS Global Immersion in China

Principal Investigator: Howard Hu, Professor of Mechanical and Engineering and Applied Mechanics

  • Abstract
  • Lead School: School of Engineering and Applied Science

    Chinese Partners:  Shanghai Jiao Tong University


    Penn Engineering aims to develop an embedded course in 2017 for 15 undergraduate students, 1- 2 faculty members, and 1 – 2 mentors to travel to Beijing and Shanghai during spring break for almost two weeks.  The objectives of the global immersion initiative are: 1) to provide an opportunity for Penn students to experience rapid technological development and business environments in China, and expose them to engineering and technology innovations there; and 2) to provide a platform for Penn students to interact with business leaders at large and small companies and educators in China and network with Penn alumni.  During the trip, students will attend a series of presentations from local speakers on various topics ranging from cultural, economic, political factors for business; engineering and technology innovation; and higher education, research and development, and consumer behavior in China.

Improving the Productivity, Efficiency, and Sustainability of Chinese Pork Producers 

Principal Investigator: Thomas Parsons, Associate Professor of Swine Production Medicine, Department of Clinical Studies – New Bolton Center

Co-Principal Investigators:  David T Galligan, Professor of Animal Health Economics; Gary Althouse, Professor and Chairman, Department of Clinical Studies, New Bolton Center & Marion Dilley and David George Jones Endowed Chair in Animal Reproduction

  • Abstract
  • Lead School: School of Veterinary Medicine

    Penn Partners: The Wharton School

    Chinese Partners:  Zoetis, Inc.

    Other Partners: Hatfield Quality Meats/Country View Family Farms, United States Grains Council


    Over the next 35 years, food production must almost double to meet the growing demands of the world population which is estimated to exceed 9 billion by 2050 with 1.4 billion living in China by 2030. In addition to population growth, the emerging affluence and urbanization as well as changing dietary patterns will dramatically increase the demand for all animal proteins including meat, milk and poultry products. Pork remains the most consumed animal protein in the world, largely based on the dietary habits of the Chinese as over 50% of the pork eaten in the world is consumed in China. The Chinese produce only about 5 times the amount of pork as does the US despite their sow herd (number of mother pigs) being nearly 10 times that of US. Thus, there is tremendous opportunity for improvement by Chinese pork producers as it only about half as efficient. The amount of pork produced by the US continues to grow despite a relatively constant sized number of mother sows. These increases in efficiencies can be attributed to improvements in animals and husbandry practices as well as structural changes to the industry. However, both the US and Chinese face questions about what is a sustainable model of pork production as societal concerns evolve regarding environment impact, antibiotic use, and animal welfare.


    This project is comprised of three main tasks.  The first, an annual educational summit, will focus on the sustainability of the Chinese swine production sector and the challenges it will face in the future.  The summit will bring together leading swine academics from Chinese veterinary or agricultural schools, along with their students, with the goal of exchanging information between the industry and academia. The second task, a sustainability research exchange, will sponsor Chinese students to travel to the US as a research fellow to research the sustainability of the Chinese swine industry.  The third and final task, an in-depth study on the sustainability in Pennsylvania Pork Industry, provide a space where individuals can come to Pennsylvania and study in more detail many of the topics that will be outlined in the summit regarding sustainability. 

Planning for Large-Scale Aviation Growth on the Ground and in the Air in China 

Principal Investigator:  Megan Ryerson, Assistant Professor of City of Regional Planning and Electrical and Systems Engineering

  • Abstract
  • Lead School: School of Design

    Penn Partners: School of Engineering and Applied Science

    Chinese Partners:  Beihang University, Civil Aviation University of China, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Tsinghua University


    The Chinese aviation system is in a period of rapid growth. In the 30 year period from 1980 to 2009, China’s civil aviation system grew at a rate of 17.6% per year, with the number of airports growing from 77 to 166 and annual traffic volume increasing from 3.43 million to 230 million. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the aviation authority in the Ministry for Transport, maintains a target of 244 airports across the country by 2020 with the goal of expanding aviation coverage in their National Aviation Network Plan. The CAAC aims to enlarge the aviation network such that 80% of urban and suburban areas are within a 100km (62 miles) of aviation service by 2020. This growth comes in both the major eastern cities and the second tier and emerging western and southern cities. 


    The research in this project will focus on the unknowns that airport planners and government officials face when developing new airports and redesigning complex airspaces to accommodate new air traffic, and that airlines face when launching new international aviation service in China. While there is a community of aviation researchers in China focused on avionics, there is little scholarly work or understanding in practice on airport planning and development, airline business plan modeling, and airspace design at the high and low altitudes. The research proposed herein will both fill a need and also provide a critical look at a rapidly growing aviation system in China, positioning Penn faculty to develop critical and impact research and hold courses and development programs for those in China on the forefront of modernizing and developing the aviation system.

Symposium and Summer School on “Pattern Recognition and Human Centered Robotics” 

Principal Investigator:  Jianbo Shi, Professor of Computer and Information Science & GRASP Laboratory

Co-Principal Investigators:  Shu Yang, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering

  • Abstract
  • Lead School: School of Engineering and Applied Science

    Penn Partners: Perelman School of Medicine

    Chinese Partners:  Chinese Academy of Science (Institute of Automation), Intel Research Lab – Beijing, Tsinghua University, Peking University, Beihang University, Xi’an Jiaotong, Hong Kong Science and Technology University


    Penn Engineering plans to host an annual symposium and summer school at the PWCC to develop international engineering partnership through robotics.  The symposium will showcase robotics developments in research labs from Penn to China, as well as student projects and competitions at the middle and high school levels involving FIRST Robotics.  Engineering’s goals for the project are threefold: 1) to engage our local partners in China through joint research projects; 2) to boost their education impact in China through advanced tutorials and participation of robotics competitions starting from the high school level; and 3) to learn about technology topics particularly suited for development in China. 

A Comparison of Chinese, EU, and U.S. Competition Law and Policy

Principal Investigator:  Christopher Yoo, John H. Chestnut Professor of Law, Communication, and Computer & Information Science; Director, Center for Technology, Innovation & Competition

Co-Principal Investigators:  Joseph Harrington, Patrick T. Harker Professor & Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy, The Wharton School

  • Abstract
  • Lead School: Penn Law

    Penn Partners: The Wharton School

    Chinese Partners:  Tsinghua University, University of International Business and Economics (Competition Law Centre)

    Other Partners: University Manheim Law School


    China’s Anti-Monopoly Law remains relatively new, having only been in force since August 2008.  Many topics have yet to be addressed, and enforcement authorities have shown significant interest in learning more about how particular issues have been addressed in other jurisdictions.  Initial enforcement actions have resulted in sizable judgments and allegations of selective prosecution against foreign-based companies.  At the same time, Chinese authorities and scholars are eager to inform the rest of the world of those instances where Chinese courts have been the first to address a particular issue.  Furthermore, global companies have long faced the complicated task of navigating the competition law and policy frameworks of both the U.S. and the EU.  China’s emergence as a significant source of antitrust enforcement has made the challenges of merger clearance and ensuring that business practices comply with competition law and policy even more difficult.


    The time would thus seem ripe for a comparative research project comparing how particular issues in competition law and policy have been addressed in different jurisdictions.  The project compares Chinese anti-monopoly law and policy with both EU competition law and policy and U.S. antitrust law and policy.  The three-way comparison is beneficial because (1) it reveals where differences and points of overlap cannot be explained simply by historical particularism or self-interest and (2) EU competition law and policy address issues that are relevant to China and do not typically arise in the U.S., such as state aid and state-owned enterprises.

Employee Mobility and Employee Entrepreneurship in China

Principal Investigator:  Minyuan Zhao, Associate Professor of Management

  • Abstract
  • Lead School: The Wharton School (Management Department)

    Chinese Partners:  Tsinghua University(School of Economics and Management), 51CTO.com, Beijing Peony Hightech Incubator Co., Ltd


    As economic growth and corporate growth increasingly rely on the development of human capital, employee mobility becomes a prominent topic for both managers and policy makers. This is particularly the case in China, where turnover rate is high and the protection of intellectual property (IP) is imperfect to say the least. China is also a country with a booming entrepreneurship scene. While the startup firms represent the most innovative segment in the Chinese economy, successful entrepreneurs often incubate their ideas while working in established incumbent firms, many of them multinational enterprises (MNEs) who would prefer to keep the ideas within firm boundaries. Therefore, employee mobility and employee entrepreneurship have become the center of interesting dynamics among policy makers, large (multinational) incumbents, and local entrepreneurs.


    This project will disentangle multiple factors that lead to employee mobility and employee entrepreneurship, using a newly available dataset on IT professionals in China. It will also analyze the implications for business strategy and economic policies.