Felix Boecking is a Senior Lecturer (UK)/ Associate Professor (US) in Modern Chinese Economic and Political History in the School of History, Classics, and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh, UK. He was educated at the Universities of Cambridge (PhD, Oriental Studies (Modern Chinese Economic History), 2008) and Oxford (BA, Oriental Studies (Chinese), 2003), and also holds a Certificate from the Hopkins-Nanjing Center for Chinese-American Studies. His research interests include China’s political economy in its historical context, the history of economics in the People’s Republic of China, and the history of China’s foreign relations. Dr. Boecking is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS) and the Royal Asiatic Society (FRAS). His research has been supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) through a doctoral fellowship, the Universities’ China Committee in London, the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, and the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University through an An Wang Postdoctoral Fellowship.


Project Summary

Dr. Boecking’s project is an intellectual history of economics and economists in the People’s Republic of China from 1949 to the present day. It combines a discussion of key concepts with intellectual and political biographies of Chinese economists, and demonstrates that modern economics did not enter the PRC only in 1978 as a Western import, as many economists have argued, but that Chinese economics are an intellectual tradition in their own right rather than being a local inflection of a global trend. By studying this tradition, this project is also a contribution to the decentering of Western economics. Furthermore, a study of economic ideas is also always a history of the people practising and living these ideas in a complex, diverse, and continually shifting political environment. In a socialist country, being an economist was an inherently risky occupation, given the continually changing political environment—as the boundaries of the politically permissible shifted, so did the definition of a good intellectual citizen.

Major Publications

No Great Wall: Trade, Tariffs, and Nationalism in Republican China, 1927-1945 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University East Asia Center, 2017), Harvard East Asian Monographs 397, pp. x, 292.

With Monika Scholz, 'Did the Nationalist Government Manipulate the Chinese Bond Market? A Quantitative Perspective on Short-Term Price Fluctuations of Domestic Government Bonds, 1932-1934', Frontiers of History in China, 10/1 (2015): 126-144.

'Unmaking the Chinese Nationalist State: Administrative Reform among Fiscal Collapse, 1937-1945,' Modern Asian Studies 45/2 (2011): 277-301.