- The Conference Room, Humanities Research Institute -
Early modern globalisation from the
16th century fuelled extensive economic growth in China, yet analysis of
the impact on the standard of living and the character of that growth
are hindered by fragmentary data. Finding new data and new approaches to
researching Chinese economic development before the mid-20th century
has hindered progress. This seminar will discuss approaches and the
constraints drawing on recent research advances employing new data
sources that my collaborators and I have been using. Among the sources
to be discussed are neglected anthropometric and economic data in the
Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) archives. These will allow us to construct time
series for the height of men and women, which will show trends in the
“biological standard of living”, and series for factor prices (wages,
rents and land). When combined in panel analysis, such an approach will
permit for the first time the quantification and testing of arguments
about the standard of living, the development of different Chinese
regions, and the impact of globalisation on these processes that are
central to China’s position in the Great Divergence debate, the
controversy over when and why Europe pulled ahead economically from the
rest of the world.
Recent articles related to the seminar
J. Baten, D. Ma, S.
Morgan and Q. Wang, “Evolution of Living Standards and Human Capital in
China in the 18-20th Centuries: Real Wages, Anthropometrics and Age
Heaping”, Explorations in Economic History, 2010, forthcoming.
S. L. Morgan, “Stature and Economic
Development in South China during the Nineteenth Century”, Explorations
in Economic History 46 (1), 2009, pp. 53-69.
S. Morgan and S. Liu, “Was Japanese
Colonialism Good for the Welfare of the Taiwanese? Stature and the
Standard of Living”, The China Quarterly, 192, 2007, pp. 990-1017.
L. Morgan, “Economic Growth and the Biological Standard of Living in
China, 1880-1930”, Economics and Human Biology, 2 (2) 2004, pp. 197-218.
Stephen Morgan (PhD, ANU; MA, HKU; BA,
Monash) is Associate Professor and Research Director at the School of
Contemporary Chinese Studies. His primary research focus is the economic
and business history of China, originally focused on early 20th century
China, but increasing moving backward to the early/mid-Qing. In
addition he has long taught (and researched to more limited extent) in
the fields of international business, strategic management and Asian
economic development. Before joining Nottingham, he was Senior Lecturer
in Asian Economic History in the Department of Management at the
University of Melbourne, and in an earlier career he was a journalist in
Australia and Asia. Dr Morgan is also the joint editor of the
Australian Economic History Review, a journal of Asia-Pacific economic,
business and social history, which is one of only four ISI-listed
economic history journals. He has published in Business History, China
Journal, China Quarterly, Explorations in Economic History, and World
Economy, among other journals.