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Contemporary Asian Studies Cluster
Chinese Economy and Society, Development Economics
Message to students
The international presence of China is increasing. Needless to say, its rapid economic growth provides some background for this phenomenon, but one wonders how its market approach succeeded so dramatically in furthering economic development, despite its authoritarian regime. How should one interpret this "socialist market economy?" Japan and other countries' experiences during their period of high economic growth - a rapid rise in the percentages of urban populations, non-agricultural populations, and students enrolling in universities - have been reproduced in China. Such changes in social structure are attributable solely to the movement of people among regions, industrial sectors, and social stratification, but factors which regulate such migration vary greatly between different countries and time periods. The question we must ask is this: How much do personal ability, social position, academic career, family origin, or other attributes, affect the movement of people in contemporary China? Each of the factors listed above may constitute a major research theme, but to understand contemporary China more deeply, theoretical and empirical studies of such themes are essential. Indeed, studies of contemporary China will provide a significant amount of intellectual stimulus. This is because the application of existing theories and analysis methods to China studies will spawn a great deal of new knowledge, giving rise to expectations for further progress in such theories.