The Treaty Port Economy in Modern China

The Treaty Port Economy in Modern China

Empirical Studies of Institutional Change and Economic Performance (CRM 65)

Billy K. L. So, ed. , Ramon H. Myers, ed.

Publication date: 2011
ISBN-13 (print): 978-1-55729-099-1
ISBN-10 (print): 1-55729-099-7
ISBN-13 (e-book): 978-1-55729-154-7

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Through eight empirical studies, this volume explores the interplay between institutional change and economic performance in a constructed model of the treaty port economy in late-Qing and Republican China.

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Title information

The eight empirical studies presented in this volume illustrate the complex relationship of institutional change and higher efficiency economic performance within the historical context of modern China. Together they suggest what an institutional approach can offer in assessing China's long-term economic development. These studies also suggest how the discourse on institution and performance can be informed by specific case studies on China. 

Nansheng BAI is a professor of the School of Agricultural and Rural Development at Renmin University, China. 
Kai-yiu CHAN is an associate professor of history at National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan. 
Stephanie Po-yin CHUNG (Zhong Baoxian) is a professor in the Department of History at the Baptist University of Hong Kong. 
James Kai-sing KUNG (Gong Qisheng) is a professor of social science at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. 
Albert S. LEE (Lee Shu Yuan) is an independent researcher of law and social sciences.
Daniel Yiu-fai LEE taught at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. 
Debin MA is a lecturer in the Department of Economic History at the London School of Economics and Political Science. 
Kentaro MATSUBARA is an associate professor of legal history at the University of Tokyo. 
Ramon H. MYERS, senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, was also curator of the East Asian archives. 
Tomoko SHIROYAMA is a professor in the Graduate School of Economics, Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo. 
Billy K. L. SO (Su Jilang) is a chair professor of humanities at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. 
Hon-ming YIP (Ye Hanming) is a professor in the Department of History at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.


Pages: 267
Language: English
Publisher: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley
OCLC: 708761884

Billy K. L. So, ed.

Billy Kee-long So 蘇基朗 is currently head and chair professor of the Division of Humanities at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. His research interests include Chinese legal history and culture, Chinese business history and culture, and the institutional economic history of late Qing and Republican China.


B.A., The Chinese University of Hong Kong; M.A., The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Ph.D., Australian National University

Ramon H. Myers, ed.

Ramon H. Myers was a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. His scholarship and public policy interests included Chinese economic history, Japanese imperialism, Taiwanese history, and Asian international relations. He is the author of The Chinese Peasant Economy (Harvard University Press, 1970), The Chinese Economy, Past and Present (Wadsworth Press, 1978), and co-editor of The Treaty Port Economy in Modern China (Institute of East Asian Studies, 2011). He passed away in fall 2015. 


Ph.D., Economics, University of Washington

The Treaty Port Economy in Modern China

Acknowledgments – xii
Contributors – ix

  1. 1. Modern China's Treaty Port Economy in Institutional Perspective: An Introductory Essay – 1
        Billy K.L. So
  3. PART ONE: Institutional Change and Economic Growth
  4. 2. The Rise of Modern Shanghai: 1900–1936: An Institutional Perspective – 33
        Debin Ma
  5. 3. The Shanghai Real Estate Market and Capital Investment, 1860–1936 – 47
        Tomoko Shiroyama
  6. 4. The Rice and Wheat Flour Market Economies in the Lower Yangzi, 1900–1936 – 75
        Kai-yiu Chan
  7. 5. The Regional Development of Wei County's Cotton Textile Market Economy, 1920–1937 – 96
        Hon-ming Yip
  8. 6. Chinese Farmer Rationality and the Agrarian Economy of the Lower Yangzi in the 1930s – 118
        James Kai-sing Kung, Daniel Yiu-fai Lee, and Nansheng Bai
  10. PART TWO: Dynamics in Institutional Change
  11. 7. Traditional Land Rights in Hong Kong's New Territories – 147
        Kentaro Matsubara
  12. 8. Chinese Enterprises across Cultures: The Hong Kong Business Experience in the Early Twentieth Century – 172
        Stephanie Po-yin Chung
  13. 9. Legalization of Chinese Corporation, 1904–1929: Innovation and Continuity in Rules and Legislation – 186
        Billy K.L. So and Albert S. Lee
  15. Bibliography – 211

Index – 249


"Where previous generations of researchers sought to account for China's failures, we now face the novel problem of explaining massive success. This volume offers a timely reappraisal of circumstances in China's treaty ports, one of many legacies underpinning today's economic boom. The emphasis on institutions, a topic that recent studies tend to sidestep, adds to the value of the lively empirical studies of this new book." ~Thomas G. Rawski, University of Pittsburgh

"These studies of institutional changes in China's treaty port economies introduce the challenges and potential payoffs of understanding how institutions affect economic performance. With rich and diverse empirircal material, they provide perspective on more recent Chinese economic reforms and the ways in which economic growth need neither intend nor result in prosperity for all." ~R. Bin Wong, University of California, Los Angeles


"The edited volume under review here is one of the most important to have been published on China's pre-war economy in recent years. Readers wary of this genre will be pleasantly surprised, since this compilation of studies penned by different scholars is a far cry from the all-too-common re-hashed conference proceedings. Rather, as the title suggests, the volume integrates much newly mined empirical evidence with intelligent analyses, and features numerous mutually-complementary insights into hitherto neglected aspects of the Treaty Port microcosm." ~Niv Horesh, University of Western Sydney and University of Nottingham, in International Journal of Asian Studies (DOI: