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2017/2018  BA-BASPV1236U  China - politics, economy, and global impact

English Title
China - politics, economy, and global impact

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 50
Study board
Study Board for BSc International Business in Asia
Course coordinator
  • Kjeld Erik Brødsgaard - EGB
The course will be co-taught by Professor Kjeld Erik Brødsgaard and Professor Niels Mygind, Department of International Economics and Management.
Main academic disciplines
  • Globalization and international business
  • International political economy
  • Political leadership and public management
Last updated on 21-02-2017

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors: The course aims to benefit students in the following areas:
1. A solid understanding of modern China from an integrated political-economy perspective;
2. An in-depth knowledge of China’s economic and political system: its history, current development and the future perspectives;
3. How to use theories in both economics and political science to explain major issues in the world’s largest economy;
4. Serves as great facilitator for students who are interested in working or doing business in China in the future.
Students are required to:
  • Fully appreciate the institutional context of China's growth and development experience during the past three decades
  • Use economic and political theories to explain and analyze major issues in China
  • Understand the dynamics between China's political system and the path of China's economic reform
  • Discuss major issues in China in broader economic and political contexts
  • Discuss China's position globally as well as China's potential challenge to the existing Western-dominated global order
Course prerequisites
It is preferred that students had some basic understanding about China: its people, history and culture. Some prior knowledge in introductory economics and theory of political economy is also recommended, but not required.
China - politics, economy, and global impact:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Oral group exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group 2-5
Size of written product Please see text below
max 5 pages pr student
Assignment type Written assignment
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Preparation time No preparation
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Make-up exam (if you participated at the exam and failed it): Hand-in an addendum of 2-3 pages per student together with the original project.
Re-take (if you were absent at the ordinary exam): Hand-in an addendum of 2-3 pages per student together with the original project.
Course content and structure

Which nation is the biggest trading nation and the largest economy (PPP estimates) in the world? Contributes more than a third of global economic growth? Has the the world’s biggest bank by market capitalization? The world’s largest holding of foreign exchange reserves? The largest growing middle-class for consumer products? The greatest potential to challenge the economic, political, and technological dominance of the West? The answer to the above questions is China, China, and China!  If you want to grasp the true magnitude and implications of the shift of economic power that is currently changing the world, it is essential to understand the Chinese economic reform and its political context. This course aims to provide an integral and detailed overview of modern China’s topical issues in both economics and politics as well as their defining impact on the global economic and political order .  It will be co-taught by Professor Kjeld Erik Brødsgaard and Professor Niels Mygind at the Department of International Economics and Management.

In the first part, we focus on Chinese economy with emphasis on the great transformation since 1978, when China first initiated its economic reform after almost thirty years of stagnation and disastrous economic mismanagement. The course is organized around a number of major themes and will include references to the historical and institutional background. These themes include at least the following: 1) What were the major problems and deficiencies of the centralized planned economy before the reform, and why was reform necessary?; 2) What were the main areas of reform, their sequence, and their major impact? And in what respect was China’s economic reform different from the reforms in Eastern European countries and Russia, and why so?; 3) Why has the Chinese economy been able to grow at an average rate of almost  10% in the past 30 years? How could economic theories help explain such a phenomenon?; 4) How capitalistic is China today? And what is the role of the state in Chinese economy?; 5) What are the major problems faced by the Chinese economy?  Of those, we focus on issues such as inequality, urbanization, pollution, financial repression and the changing model of growth – The New Normal; 6) Finally, we discuss China’s role in world economy, its fast productivity growth, rising innovation capacity and the political and economic response of the West.

The second part focuses on the political framework and basis for China’s economic development with an emphasis on the post-Mao Zedong era. The objective is to provide a basic understanding of the Chinese governing system and the inter-linkages between structure, power and Party. It will be argued that the Chinese political system is characterized by “fragmented authoritarianism”. The following topics will be covered: 1) The organizational setup of the Chinese political system including central-local government relations, the tiao-kuai matrix and the civil service system; 2) The formation of the Party-state including Party member statistics and profile; Party leading groups and the kou system; 3) Nomenklatura and cadre management including appointment and promotion criteria for leading cadres; ranking systems, executive remuneration and associated benefits; 4) Who is who in China including leadership transition from the current fifth generation to the new sixth generation of Chinese leaders;  5) Party-business-relations with a focus on rotation between business group CEOs, government ministers and provincial governors including examples from the oil sector; 6) Competing scenarios for China’s political system in 2020: fragmentation, strong state, partial democracy or competitive authoritarianism? Global convergence or new divergence?  The impact of the Trump factor on Chinese internal politics.

Teaching methods
The course is organized around a number of major themes, and it will include lectures and class discussion with references to the historical and institutional backgrounds. Students shall make teams of 3-5 persons and write projects of max. 5 pages per student.
Feedback during the teaching period
The students will get feed-back in relation to class discussion. The will have the option to present the structure and main ideas of their project in class and will here get feed-back from the teacher and class-mates. At the oral exam the students will get feed-back from the examiner and censor both on the mini-project and on the oral exam performance.
Student workload
lectures 36 hours
preparation 170 hours
Expected literature

Main literature

Naughton, Barry. 2007. “The Chinese Economy: Transitions and Growth”. MIT Press: Cambridge, MA.

Kenneth Lieberthal, 2003. Governing China: From Revolution to Reform. New York: W.W. Norton and Company.

World Bank (2013): China 2030, Building a Modern, Harmonious and Creative Society, Part 1, pp. 4-33


Latest OECD Economic Survey and IMF Country Report on China

Last updated on 21-02-2017