China in Global Economic History

Principal Investigator: Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde, Professor of Economics

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

Chinese Partners: Tsinghua University

Project Abstract

This project will focus on the development of an innovative book on global economic history that spans from 1405 until today. The book will highlight the deep interconnections across continents since the modern voyages of exploration created an integrated world market in the 14th and 15th centuries, comparing Europe, India, and China, which is novel and important because nearly all of modern literature has ignored India.  It will examine the key importance of institutional differences in legal systems among China, India, and Europe, and consider environmental history (including climate change, which is a constant in history, and the role of food and plagues) and the interconnections between institutions, economics, and the environment at the very core of the analysis.

In addition, this project will aim to convene scholars at UPenn and to develop a class on global economic history for the Benjamin Franklin Program. This class will aim explicitly to increase the study and understanding of China at UPenn and create opportunities for meaningful student engagement and possible research assistantships.