Dr Kent Deng

Associate Professor (Reader) in Economic History

The rise of the literati in the economic life of pre-modern China; the maritime economic history of pre-modern China; the economic role of the Chinese peasantry.

Research projects

  • Developmental deadlock of the Chinese premodern economy
  • Long-term demography of premodern China
  • Early modern railway development in China
  • Chinese fiscal state and its impact on the economy



  • EH327 China's Traditional Economy and its Growth in the Very Long-Term
  • EH482 'Pre-modern Path of Growth: East and West Compared, c1000-1800/1900' (jointly with Dr. R. Grafe), full unit.
  • EH486 'Shipping and Sea Power in Asian Waters c1600-1860', (half unit)



  • 2009:  'Movers and Shakers of Knowledge in China during the Ming-Qing Period'History of Technology vol. 29 (2009), pp. 151–71.
  • 2008:  'Miracle or Mirage? Foreign Silver,China's Economy and Globalisation of the Sixteen to Nineteenth Centuries', Pacific Economic Review, vol. 13, no. 3 (2008), pp. 320–57.
  • 2004:  Title: 'Unveiling China's True Population Statistics for the Pre-Modern Era with Official Census Data',  Population Review vol. 43, no. 2 (2004, Winter Issue), pp.1–38.*
  • 2004:   "Why Did the Chinese Never Develop A Steam Engine?",  History of Technology vol. 25 (2004), pp. 151–71.
  • 2003: "Development and Its Deadlock in Imperial China, 221 B.C-1840 A.D." In Economic Development and Cultural Change (forthcoming, January 2003)
  • 2000: "A Critical Survey of Recent Research in Chinese Economic History". InEconomic History Review (LIII, 1, February 2000), pp. 1-28. Lead Article.
  • 1999: "Una Paradoja: Del Desarrollo Al Subdesarrollo Económico. El Caso Chino". In Anuario Iehs (No 14, 1999), Universidad Nacional del Centro de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, pp. 177-94. ISSN: 0326-9671.
  • 1999: Maritime Sector, Institutions and Sea Power of Premodern China. pp. 298. Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, New York, London and West Port. ISBN: 0-313-30712-1
  • 1999: The Chinese Premodern Economy - Structural Equilibrium and Capitalist Sterility. pp. 421. Routledge, London and New York. ISBN: 0-415-16239-4
  • 1997: Chinese Maritime Activities and Socioeconomic Development c. 2100 B.C. - 1900 A.D. pp. 218. Greenwood Publishing Group, New York, London and West Port. ISBN: 0-313-29212-4

  Contributions: chapters

  • 2010:  'Why Shipping Declined in China from the Middle Ages to the Nineteenth Century', in Shipping Efficiency and Economic Growth, 13501800, ch. 8. Publisher: Brill Press
  • 2009:    Evoluzione sociale di Taiwan e Hong Kong in epoca contemporanea'(The evolution of Chinese society in Taiwan and Hong Kong), in  La Cina, a cura di Maurizio Scarpari, Verso la modernità  , vol. 3, ch. 6.
  • 2008:  Title: 'Decline of China's Sea Power', in China and Southeast Asia, ch. 1 (pp. 1–21), vol. 4 (six volumes in all).    Publisher: Routledge Press
  • 2005:   "The State and Market in China's Maritime Sector", in Liu Xufeng (ed.)Zhongguo Haiyang Fazhanshi Lunwenji (Selected Essays on the Maritime History of China), vol. 9. Taipei: Academia Sinica. Pp. 479–555. Publisher: Taipei: Academia Sinica

Conference papers


  • London “Squeezed Lemon: Manchuria under Japanese and Soviet Colonisation, 1928-1946”, ‘The role of Government in Colonial Economies and the Impact of the Transition to Independence’, HEDG, the Economic History Society and the SOAS Faculty Research Fund, 4 –5th June, 2010, SOAS.
  • Stanford “Song-Qing China: From an Anti-Fiscal State to a Fiscal State?” Fiscal Regimes and the Political Economy of Early States, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and Department of Classics, 25–7 May, Stanford University.
  • Rome “Rediscovering History in Management Research” (Keynote panel of the Plenary Session), the 10th EURAM Annual Conference, 19th – 22nd May, Tor Vergata University, Rome, Italy.
  • Graz “Silver Trade in Ming-Qing China, China’s Economy and Globalisation from the Sixteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries”. Globalization: Past, Present and Future, University of Graz, 29th–30th January, 2010, Austria.

Seminar papers


  • Bologna "The Qing State Management and the Chinese Economy", Dipartimento di Scienze Aziendali, Università di Bologna, Italy.
  • Sydney "The Decline of China's Sea Power, 1300 to 1800", Department of Politics and Modern History, Macquarie University, 23rd April, 2010
  • Sydney "What Made China Changed, 1949 to 2009", Asian Studies, Macquarie University, 23rd April, 2010.
  • Newcastle "Pattern of China's Long-term Growth Performance, 1800 to 2000". Faculty of Business and Law, the University of Newcastle, 16th April, 2010.
  • Brisbane "Re-thinking the Role of Silver in Ming-Qing China and beyond: Domestic Monetisation and Early Globalisation?" School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics, Queensland University, 14th April, 2010.
  • Melbourne "China's Pattern: from Low Growth to Miracle Growth and Its Sustainability in the 21st Century", School of Economics and Finance, La Trobe University, 31st March, 2010.
  • Melbourne "State-building as the Prime Mover from Confucianism to Leninism in China, 1800–2000". Confucian Institute, the University of Melbourne, 30th March, 2010.
  • Oxford "Was China the Engine for Early Globalisation? Silver Flow and Early Globalisation". Oxford Transnational and Global History Seminar Series, St. Cross College, 1st March 2010, Oxford.