High-level Roundtable Conference on the Role of the State in Economic Growth was held in Beijing

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High-level Roundtable Conference on the Role of the State in Economic Growth was held in Beijing

March 23, 2016

On March 18, 2016, Beijing Center co-hosted a high-level roundtable conference on the Role of the State in Economic Growth, at which three Nobel Laureates Joseph E. Stiglitz, Edmund S. Phelps, and A. Michael Spence were invited to give the keynote address and participate in a discussion. Other participants consist of world-renowned scholars and professionals, including Merit Janow, Jeffrey Sachs, Yingyi Qian, Lan Xue, Martin Feldstein, Kenneth Lieberthal, Peter Jungen, David Li, and Lawrence J. Lau, to name just a few.

As part of Columbia University President's Global Innovation Fund, in collaboration with the Columbia Global Centers | Beijing, the Columbia University Initiative for Policy Dialogue and Tsinghua University, the Center on Global Economic Governance (CGEG) is conducting this three-year project policy-oriented research into Strategies for Growth: The Changing Role of the State, in collaboration with the Columbia Global Centers | Paris, Beijing, and Rio de Janeiro. The first major event of the project was a roundtable conference in Paris on October 5-6, 2014. The second major event was the following roundtable conference in Beijing. Its goal is to build on the discussion in Paris and examine major issues in the Asian context, with a particular focus on China.

The remarkable intellectual banquet started with opening remarks addressed by Merit E. Janow, Dean of Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, Yingyi Qian, Dean of Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management, and Jan Svejnar, Director of the Center on Global Economic Governance. Comprised of four distinct sessions, conference participants delved into the issues of monetary policy, capital flows & capital market regulation; stabilization, industrial policy & reforms, environment and income; education, R&D and convergence; and  global economic governance.

Upon reaching the highlight of the whole event, Joseph E. Stiglitz, winner of 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, and Edmund Phelps, winner of the 2006 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, initiated a discussion on the role of the state in the next stage of China’s development, proposing suggestions on China’s capital account management and market regulation. While joking about the “pessimistic” views towards the current slow-down of China’s economy, the conference participants reached a consensus that the momentum for economic restructure is still strong, which may rein in the downturn.

As noted in the summation and concluding comments made by Marcos Troyjo, Co-Director of Columbia University BRIC Lab, the panels emphasized the significant role of more comprehensive institutions in global economic governance, and the approach that individual states could adopt to deal with both supranational and global institutions such as the G20, IMF, World Bank, WTO, and UN, as well as the New Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and other regional arrangements.