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The 3rd Great Minds China Forum held in SUFE
Date: May 31, 2017

On May 29, 2017, the 3rd Great Minds China Forum co-sponsored by National Economics Foundation and School of Economics, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics was held in the Lecture Hall, 1st Floor of SUFE Entrepreneurship Center. Bin Xia, NEF Chairman, and Chuanhai Jiang, Vice Chancellor of SUFE, gave welcoming remarks respectively on the opening ceremony. Sen Wei, the Vice Chairman of NEF, presided at the forum.

The 3rd Great Minds China Forum held by SOE

Sen Wei, the Vice Chairman of NEF, presided at the forum

With the theme of "The Post-Crisis Economic Reflections: Perspectives from Different Schools of Thought", the forum gathered many top economists both at home and abroad, including Prof. Claude Ménard, Full Professor of Economics at Université de Paris, member of Board of Directors at the Ronald Coase Institute, founder of ATOM (Analytical Theory of Organizations and Markets), and co-founder of the International Society for New Institutional Economics; Prof. Patrick Bolton, David Zalaznick Professor of Business at Columbia Business School, Fellow of Econometric Society, member of the Board of Directors of American Finance Association, Fellow of American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and NBER Research Fellow; Prof. Harald Uhlig, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, consultant at the European Central Bank, consultant at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and Head Editor of Journal of Political Economy; Genfu Feng, the former Dean of School of Economics and Finance of Xi'an Jiaotong University and Director of Shaanxi Innovation-driven Industry Upgrade Research Center; Haizhou Huang, Managing Director, member of the Management Board, and Director of Equities Department of China International Capital Corporation; Prof. Yingyi Qian, Dean of School of Economics and Management of Tsinghua University; Prof. Chenggang Xu, Professor of Economics at Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business; Xiaoning Long, member of Discipline Review Group of the State Council, Co-editor of China Economic Review and China Economic Studies; Bingtao Song, Dean of School of Economics of Henan University; Prof. Xiaonian Xu, Professor of Economics and Finance at China Europe International Business School; Shuguang Zhang, Research Fellow at Institute of Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences; Miaojie Yu, Director of Global Open Economy Research Center of Peking University; Prof. Danyang Xie, Professor of Economics at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Dean of School of Economics and Management of Wuhan University; and Prof. Guoqiang Tian, Dean of School of Economics and Institute for Advanced Research of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, Alfred F. Chalk Professor at Texas A&M University; and Zhe Li, Associate Professor and Assistant to Dean at SUFE School of Economics. Lin Cheng, the Director of Personnel Department of SUFE, Fang Wang, the Secretary of Party Committee of School of Economics, and an audience of over 300 people from governmental departments, universities, research institutes, financial organizations, and media attended the forum.

Bin Xia, NEF Chairman, was giving the welcoming remarks

Chairman Bin Xia pointed out that as with the rise of the Chinese economy, interpreting the Chinese economy has become one of the most important tasks for interpreting the global economy. During the recent decade, the academia of economics in China has made great efforts to not only summarize China's experience of rapid economic development in the past 40 years but also explore and innovate in the discipline of economics based on China's practice. He hopes that in the future, more scholars and organizations can joint NEF to promote the prosperity of economics in China and make history of economic thought with the voice of the contemporary Chinese.

Chuanhai Jiang, Vice Chancellor of SUFE, was giving the welcoming remarks

Chuanhai Jiang, Vice Chancellor of SUFE, stated that in the post-crisis era, to clarify the new normal of China's economy will be conducive to get a clear understanding of the new problems and changes, and China will also go through a new round of reform centering round the new normal. During the one hundred years since its foundation, SUFE has not only made great efforts to promote theoretical research at international advanced level and build first-class talent cultivation system, but also put much emphasis on the role of academic study in serving major strategic demands of China's economic development. Especially under the leadership of Dean Guoqiang Tian, after several years of education reform and development, the gap has been significantly narrowed between the economics discipline of SUFE and that of international advanced level. Meanwhile, the forum coincided with SUFE's centennial celebration and would add color to our celebration activities.

Prof. Patrick Bolton from Columbia Business School was giving a keynote speech

The first seminar was on the topic of "Reflections from Micro Economic Perspective: Supervision and Corporate Governance" presented by Prof. Patrick Bolton from Columbia Business School, in which he pointed out the separation of ownership and control is a fundamental threat to capitalism; dispersed ownership will weaken the operational efficiency of big corporations and do damage to the relationship between rights and duties. He discussed the case of American Electric Power Co. Inc. which is deemed as a typical "widow-and-orphan stock" and stated that the equity dispersion actually depends on how the company is regulated. Only when the regulation can help reduce financial risks, especially merger and acquisition risks, will the equity dispersion be truly realized.

Guoqiang Tian, Genfu Feng, Chenggang Xu, Haizhou Huang, and Yingyi Qian commented on the report

Guoqiang Tian, Genfu Feng, Chenggang Xu, Haizhou Huang, and Yingyi Qian commented on the report respectively. Prof. Tian combined Prof. Patrick Bolton's talk with state governance and corporate governance in China and gave his thought on governance: first, the essence of governance is the design of institutions and mechanisms; second, the guiding role of economic theories cannot be denied; third, reform and its governance should have objectives and should also go through a transitional period. Prof. Genfu Feng believed that there have been some progresses in the governance and supervision of state-owned corporations of China since the 18th CPC National Congress but institutions concerning excess of management and reform of mixed ownership still need to be improved. Prof. Chenggang Xu analyzed the deregulation of electric power industry in the U.S. in 1990s and suggested that dispersed corporate ownership was a complement but not substitute to financial regulation. Haizhou Huang thought that complete marketization of finance is not feasible; based on the national condition of China, he put forward the importance of legal system and believed that regulation and laws cannot replace each other in the financial market but must work together. Prof. Yingyi Qian thought Prof. Patrick Bolton's report was of both depth and breadth.

Prof. Claude Ménard, Full Professor of Economics at Université de Paris, was giving a keynote speech

In the second seminar, Prof. Claude Ménard, Full Professor of Economics at Université de Paris, presented his study titled "Research Frontiers of New Institutional Economics: Theories, Methodologies, and Tools". His report consisted of three parts: the first part was the introduction of the origin of new institutional economics; the second part concerned the new branches of NIE, especially organizational economics, and the relation between the mismatch and imbalance of finance and micro-economy; the third part was about how to insert institutional dimensions into institution and the influence of institutional dimension upon economic imbalance.

Xiaoning Long, Bingtao Song, Xiaonian Xu, Yingyi Qian, Shuguang Zhang, and Sen Wei commented on the report

Xiaoning Long, Bingtao Song, Xiaonian Xu, Yingyi Qian, Shuguang Zhang, and Sen Wei commented on the report respectively. Prof. Xiaoning Long agreed with Prof. Claude Ménard about the importance of institution and thought whether the mixed institution can be progressively developed in China was a new research topic or concept. Prof. Bingtao Song thought that maybe the theory of public economics can be included when considering the framework of NIE. Prof. Xiaonian Xu thought that Prof. Claude Ménard's report didn't mention the evolution of institutions, which could be a great concern for the policy-makers and scholars in China. Prof. Yingyi Qian pointed out that NIE has received a lot of attention in China and more research can be done on the mix of market and bureaucratic system and on mesoscopic perspective which is between macro and micro perspectives. Prof. Sen Wei raised three questions for people to think about: first, the research direction in the next step for the study of institution; second, research should be conducted on institutional changes on a small scale so as to study institutional changes on a big scale and what kind of fundamental institutions can ensure benign market operation; third, during future transition, what political and economic institutions will China adopt?

Prof. Harald Uhlig, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, was giving a keynote speech

In the afternoon, the third seminar was held, in which Prof. Harald Uhlig, Professor of Economics at the University of Chicago, gave a keynote speech on "Research Frontiers of Macroeconomics: Theories, Methodologies and Tools". He pointed out the study of economics, especially macroeconomics, has gone through several changes since the financial crisis in 2008, so what new topics, research methodologies, tools, and theories have emerged? What important topics, especially those concerning China, should be studied and solved? He recommended a book titled Handbook of Macroeconomics featuring a comprehensive introduction of the frontier questions and theories of macroeconomics which he coauthored with John B. Taylor and published in 2016. In his speech, he stressed five important questions of contemporary macroeconomics and proposed five aspects for future research, namely business cycle, aging, saving glut, medical care under macroeconomics, and global warming under macroeconomics.

Zhe Li, Miaojie Yu, Haizhou Huang, and Danyang Xie commented on the report

Zhe Li, Miaojie Yu, Haizhou Huang, and Danyang Xie commented on the report. Associate Professor Zhe Li discussed relevant questions of macroeconomics according to the five topics proposed by Prof. Harald Uhlig. Prof. Miaojie Yu shared research results in the field of technological progress & economic growth and aging problems. Prof. Haizhou Huang thought that besides the five research topics, monetary policy, financial system, and international finance are also very important and worth studying. Prof. Danyang Xie pointed out that in the past 30 years, though great progresses in research have been seen in researches on decision theory, behavioral economics, and behavioral finance, the study from macroeconomic perspectives is still inadequate. He reviewed the development history of macroeconomics and encouraged young scholars and students to devote themselves in relevant research and pay special attention to the influence of artificial intelligence upon macroeconomics.

The forum gathered numerous experts, scholars, and elites from various industries both at home and abroad and had extensive and in-depth discussions on hot topics of the "Post-Crisis Economic Reflections". It presented not only international research frontiers of microeconomics, macroeconomics, and institutional economics but also practical and feasible policy suggestions for China’s economic reform. The forum was highly appraised by attendees and came to a successful close.

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