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Empirical Forum of Social Sciences (Session 11): China in Three Worlds: 21st Century Sci-Tech, Industrial Revolution Mass Production, and Rural Poverty

Lecturer: Prof. Richard B. Freeman



Venue:Academic Hall, Main Building of Education Museum, Chang'an Campus

Hosted by:Center for Experimental Economics in Education

About the Lecture:

Since the turn of the 21st century China has zoomed to the forefront of science and technology and increasingly business innovation as well that makes it a global leader in the knowledge economy. The country's huge population allows even modest improvements in science, technology, and innovation to have global impacts. By leaping to the forefront of modern technology, however, China risks leaving large parts of the population behind. Increases in robotization of industry could lower demand for workers in industrial jobs and concentrate benefits on a smaller proportion of society. The rural/urban divide leaves a huge poor rural population whose skills may be insufficient to attain good jobs and incomes as the country moves up the value chain in production. Finding a way to connect the advance in science and technology and the upgrading of manufacturing and other industries with raising the well-being of the rural poor is arguably the big economic problem in China’s next phase of economic development. This talk will document the country's great leap forward in science and engineering, and movement up the value chain of production, and argue that the most efficacious way to resolve the problem is to apply the country's new sci-tech expertise to improving the well-being of those in danger of being left behind. The talk will stress ways economics and other social science research can help the country continue its remarkable progress.

Profile of the Lecturer:

Richard B. Freeman is Ascherman Chair in Economics at Harvard University, Faculty co-Director of the Labor and Worklife Program at the Harvard Law School and Senior Research Fellow in Labour Markets at the LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance. He directs the Science and Engineering Workforce Project at the NBER and is Co-Director of the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities. Professor Freeman's research interests include the job market for scientists and engineers; the transformation of scientific ideas into innovations; Chinese labor markets; the effects of AI and robots on the job market; and forms of labor market representation and employee ownership. Recent books include Science and Engineering Careers in the United States (Univ of Chicago Press for NBER, 2009), Shared Capitalism at Work: Employee Ownership, Profit and Gain Sharing, and Broad-based Stock Options (Univ of Chicago Press for NBER, 2010), The Citizen’s Share: Putting Ownership Back into Democracy (Yale Univ Press, 2013), and U.S. Engineering in a Global Economy (Univ of Chicago Press for NBER, 2018).

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