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Ling Chen

Ling Chen

Assistant Professor of Political Economy


Ling Chen is Assistant Professor in political economy at Johns Hopkins SAIS. She has been selected as a 2021-2022 Wilson China Fellow by the Woodrow Wilson Center. 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.
Chen’s research interests lie in political economy and state-business relations, with a regional focus on China. She studies the nexus between states and business, such as economic, tax, and industrial policies. She is especially interested in the political, coalitional, and institutional origins of policy outcomes, as well as the relationship between capitalism and the authoritarian state. Her research combines in-depth field interviews with statistical analysis and machine learning. Chen's articles have been published in American Journal of Political Science, International Studies Quarterly, World Development, Politics & Society, 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. Her second book project is on capitalists and authoritarian governance in China, which has won the Catalyst Award. Chen’s research has been funded by institutions such as the Social Science Research Council (Andrew Mellon Foundation), Wilson Center, Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation, Institute for Humane Studies, and Stanford University. She was recognized as an NCID Diversity Scholar by the University of Michigan.
In addition to academic outlets, Chen has also published in The Washington Post and Axios. Her comments have been quoted, among others, by the New York TimesForeign AffairsForeign Policy, the National Committee on US-China Relations, and the USCC Report to Congress. She teaches courses on China's Political Economy, Comparative Politics, and Political Economy and Development Strategies in East Asia.

Peer-reviewed Publications

Chen, Ling and Florian Hollenbach. 2022. "Capital Mobility and Taxation: State-Business Collusion in China.International Studies Quarterly 66(1).
Chen, Ling and Hao Zhang. 2021. "Strategic Authoritarianism: The Political Cycles and Selectivity of China's Tax Break Policy." American Journal of Political Science 65(4).Chen, Ling. 2018. Manipulating Globalization: The Influence of Bureaucrats on Business in China. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Chen, Ling, 2017. “Grounded Globalization: Foreign Capital and Local Bureaucrats in China’s Economic Transformation.” World Development 98: 381-399.Chen, Ling. 2014. “Varieties of Global Capital and the Paradox of Local Upgrading in China.” Politics & Society 42(2): 223-252.Chen, Ling. 2010. “Playing The Market Reform Card: The Changing Patterns Of Political Struggle In Chinas Electric Power Sector.” The China Journal 64: 69-95.Chen, Ling. 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, Ling. 2008. Preferences, Institutions and Politics: Re-Interrogating the Theoretical Lessons of Developmental Economies.” New Political Economy 13(1): 89-102.

Works in Progress

Chen, Ling. Ambivalent Capitalism and the Authoritarian State: The Public Origins of Private Entrepreneurs in China (Book Project in Progress)Chen, Ling. "How Institutions Bounce Back: Untangling Difficult Reforms in China's State-Owned Sector." (working paper)Chen, Ling and Miles, Evers. “U.S.-China ‘Tech Cold War’: The Counterproductive Weaponization of the Supply Chain?” (in progress)

Other Publications

Chen, Ling. 2018. "How this Trade War Could Backfire — in China’s favor.The Washington Post, June 25.Chen, Ling. 2018. “More Centralized Control Threatens China's Economic model.Axios, January 23.Chen, Ling. 2013. “Dongya yu lamei guojia gongyehua de lujing” [The Paths of Industrialization in East Asia and Latin America]. Caijing Kexue [The Journal of Finance & Economics] 1: 255-260 (In Chinese).



  • China
  • East Asia


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

In the News

Strategic authoritarianism: The political cycles and selectivity of China’s tax-break policy.

Ling Chen wrote in American Journal of Political Science, 08/25

As China scrutinizes its entrepreneurs, a power couple cashes out.

Ling Chen quoted in The New York Times, 06/17

An assessment of the CCP’s economic ambitions, plans, and metrics of success.

Ling Chen testified before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, 04/15

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