SOAS University of London

School of Finance and Management

Contemporary issues in the Chinese economy

Module Code:
Year of study:
Year 3 of 3 or Year 4 of 4
Taught in:
Term 1
This course is designed to introduce the student to a wide variety of issues that are important for China’s present and future economic and social development and their implication for management. The choice of issues is intended to reflect recent and contemporary developments and therefore contain a degree of flexibility. Selected issues will help throw light on the nature, rationale and impact of China’s post-1978 reform strategy. It is however recognised that neither current reforms nor their underlying policies can be understood fully without reference to developments that took place during the post-1949 era. Accordingly, the discussion of each topic will give consideration to the pre-1978 background of more recent developments. Upon successful completion of this course, it is hoped that students with a variety of backgrounds will understand the major issues facing China’s development and how through a better understanding, management can be better equipped to address these issues.
Module sign-up information for non-departmental open option students
  • Required approval: Approval is required from the Law and Social Sciences Faculty Office
  • Required pre-requisite module(s): None
  • Year of study: 3/Final
  • Maximum number of non-departmental students permitted per year: 10
  • Weekly timetable: One lecture (2 hours) and one tutorial (1 hour)

Further information on open option modules can be found here

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the course students should be able to:

  • Provide a contemporary perspective on China’s economic reforms and their implications for managerial decision making
  • Evaluate the key management implications of reform across a broad range of socio-economic indicators
  • Understand the implications of demographic change in modern China
  • Evaluate the major contemporary socio-economic challenges faced by China in making the transition to the market economy
  • Understand the key features of China’s labour market development and discuss the main challenges faced by China in facilitating the future labour market reforms
  • Discuss the main economic and political arguments on cross strait integration and how management might deal with the challenges and opportunities it poses.
  • Evaluate the sustainability of China’s economic growth and provide insight on how management should deal with the uncertainty posed by this question

Method of assessment

This course is assessed by 30% written coursework and 70% by one two hour examination

Suggested reading

Indicative Readings:

  • Lardy, N (1998), China’s Unfinished Economic Revolution, Brookings
  • Chai, JCH (1997) China Transition to a Market Economy, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Nolan, P. (2004) China at the Cross Roads, Cambridge: Polity Press
  • Lardy, Nicholas R (2002) Integrating China into the Global Economy. Washington DC: Brookings Institution Press.
  • Chow, Gregory (2007), China’s Economic Transformation, Blackwell Publishing
  • Robert Ash (ed.) (2002) China's Integration in Asia: Economic Security and Strategic Issues, Richmond, Surrey: Curzon Press.
  • Ross Garnaut and Yiping Huang (eds) (2001) Growth Without Miracles: Readings on the Chinese Economy in the Era of Reform, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Vaclav Smil (2004) China’s Past, China’s Future: Energy, Food, Environment, London and New York: RoutledgeCurzon.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules