PhD defence Zipeng Zhang: China’s economic development during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)

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Antieke chinese munten © iStockphoto.com/VM_Studio
© iStockphoto.com/VM_Studio

On 29 august, Zipeng Zhang will defend his thesis 'Between Government and Market: Building Blocks of a New Economic History of China’s Industrial Development During the Ming Dynasty (ca. 1368-1644)'. 

Key questions on China’s economic development

What happened to long-term economic development, especially from the perspective of industry, in Late Imperial China (960-1911)? When and why did China fall behind the West? What was the role of government in this process, and what was the interaction between government and market? These are the key questions in Zhang’s thesis.

Focus on the Ming Dynasty

To answer these questions, Zhang focused on the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and employed the approach of historical reconstruction of national accounts to investigate selected industrial sectors. In addition, to understand the continuities and changes, he also explored several other dynastic periods before and after the Ming, including the Song (960-1279), the Yan (1271-1368), and the Qing (1644-1911), and occasionally even the Republican period (1911-1949).

Conclusions

Ready-to-hand historical data on China are extremely scarce, but Zhang found that China was arguably the largest factory in the pre-industrial world. According to him, the long-standing views of both state monopoly in the Ming and stagnation (or decline) in the Ming-Qing are outdated.

Start date and time
End date and time
Location
Online
PhD candidate
Zipeng Zhang
Dissertation
Between Government and Market: Building Blocks of a New Economic History of China’s Industrial Development During the Ming Dynasty (ca. 1368-1644)
PhD supervisor(s)
Prof. J.L. van Zanden
Co-supervisor(s)
Dr. B. van Leeuwen