Miracles and Traps of Development: How to Understand Economic Development with Economic Thinking

At 14:00 on December 15th, 2020, Prof. Wang Yong, Associate Professor of the Institute of Economics at the School of Social Sciences, Tsinghua University, delivered a lecture entitled “Miracles and Traps of Development: How to Understand Economic Development with Economic Thinking” to doctorate candidates and assistant research professors of I Institute for International and Area Studies, Tsinghua University (IIAS-THU) at Conference Room 205 of the Central Main Building.

This lecture consisted of three parts, namely the concerns of economic development, the causes of economic development and economic thinking. Prof. Wang started the lecture with three key concerns of economic development, i.e., the gap between rich and poor, growth rate and sustainability. He explored the root causes, catalysts and underlying drivers of economic development, and stressed the necessity of distinguishing the levels of causes. In the third part, Prof. Wang briefed the relationship between economy and economics from the perspective of resources and resource allocation. He also elaborated four features of economic thinking, namely individual perspective, rational assumption, equilibrium analysis and institutional arrangement. Finally, in terms of institution, he reviewed the current academic criticism of the theory of great diversion and the analysis of the long-term impact of Peru’s mandatory labor system by Melissa Dale, Clark Medalist 2020.

In the Q&A session, Prof. Wang answered the students’ questions about the relationship between investment and economic growth and the role of religion in economic development, and put forward pertinent opinions and suggestions on the specific application of economic thinking in area studies. The audience present commented that Prof. Wang’s lecture helped them understand the concerns of economic development by using economic thinking and also inspired them to further explore the instrumentality and value of economic thinking.

Prof. Wang serves as Tenured Associate Professor at the Institute of Economics, School of Social Sciences, Tsinghua University. He received his doctoral degree from the Guanghua School of Management, Peking University and later worked in the Department of Economics, Harvard University as a postdoctoral fellow. He has served as Vice Chair of the Institute of Economics, Tsinghua University since 2012, and Executive Deputy Director of the Institute of Minsheng Economic Research, Tsinghua University since the end of 2014. His fields of interest include game theory and its applications, the Internet economy, and enterprise theory.

Text by: Dong Hui
Photography by: Dong Hui