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Ling Chen

Assistant Professor of Political Economy


Ling Chen is Assistant Professor in political economy at Johns Hopkins SAIS. She is also affiliated with the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies at Harvard University as an Associate in Research. Before joining SAIS, she was a Shorenstein Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University and Rajawali Fellow at the Ash Center of Harvard Kennedy School. She received her PhD in political science from Johns Hopkins (in Baltimore).

Chen’s research centers on political economy of China, especially the political origins of economic policies and the influence of capitalism on authoritarian governance. Her works have appeared in World Development, Politics & Society, The China Journal, Review of International Political Economy, and New Political Economy. Her first book, Manipulating Globalization: The Influence of Bureaucrats on Business in China, published by Stanford University Press, explores the political roots of government-business coalitions and policy implementation in China. She is currently working on articles on how capital mobility and political motivations influence tax policies in China. Her second book project, tentatively entitled Capitalist Authoritarianism in China, has won the Catalyst Award. Chen was recognized as the Diversity Scholar by University of Michigan. Her research has received support from institutions such as the Social Science Research Council (Andrew Mellon Foundation), Institute for Humane Studies, Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, Johns Hopkins University, and Stanford University, among others.

Chen teaches courses on China's Political Economy, Comparative Politics, and Political Economy and Development Strategies in East Asia.


Peer-Reviewed Publications

Chen, L. (2018). Manipulating globalization: The influence of bureaucrats on business in China. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Chen, L. (2017). Grounded Globalization: Foreign Capital and Local Bureaucrats in China’s Economic Transformation. World Development,98, 381-399.

Chen, L. (2014). Varieties of Global Capital and the Paradox of Local Upgrading in China. Politics & Society,42(2), 223-252.

Chen, L. (2010). Playing The Market Reform Card: The Changing Patterns Of Political Struggle In Chinas Electric Power Sector. The China Journal,64, 69-95.

Chen, L. (2008). Institutional inertia, adjustment, and change: Japan as a case of a coordinated market economy. Review of International Political Economy,15(3), 460-479.

Chen, L. (2008). Preferences, Institutions and Politics: Re-Interrogating the Theoretical Lessons of Developmental Economies. New Political Economy,13(1), 89-102.

Other Publications

"How this trade war could backfire — in China’s favor.The Washington Post, Monkey Cage, June 25 (2018).

More Centralized Control Threatens China's Economic model." Axios, expert voices, January 23 (2018)

“Dongya yu lamei guojia gongyehua de lujing” [The Paths of Industrialization in East Asia and Latin America]. Caijing Kexue [The Journal of Finance & Economics], no.1 (2003): 255-260 (In Chinese).

Works in Progress

“Capital Mobility and Taxation in Autocracies: Evidence from China.” with Florian Hollenbach (working paper).

"The Political Incentives of Strategic Taxation in China: Evidence from Firms and Cities" with Hao Zhang (Working paper).
"When Institutions Bounce Back: Implementing Difficult Reforms in China's State Sector" (in progress).

Spring 2016 
Spring 2017 



  • China
  • East Asia


  • Political Economy
  • Comparative Politics
  • Policy Making and Implementation
  • Development
  • Globalization
  • State-Business Relations
  • Industry Policy

In the News

How will racial minorities shape future elections?

Ling Chen interviewed for WalletHub, 10/21

What lies ahead? The fifth plenum of the 19th Communist Party Congress.

Ling Chen interviewed for National Committee on United States - China Relations, 10/21

Getting China right: China in the world.

Ling Chen interviewed for Duke University’s Department of Political Science 9/3

Who is winning the trade war?

Ling Chen, Anne O. Krueger, and Matthias Matthijs surveyed in Foreign Affairs, 12/17

Thirty-three early-career faculty members receive Johns Hopkins Catalyst Awards.

Ling Chen, Sarah Jordaan, and Sarah Parkinson cited in Johns Hopkins HUB, 6/6

Exploring the links between business and the Chinese bureaucracy.

Ling Chen interviewed on SupChina podcast, 5/30

New insights on the 'Made in China' model.

Ling Chen interviewed on Rhodes Center podcast, 4/17