Professor Kent Deng

Professor 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
  • EH486 'Shipping and Sea Power in Asian Waters c1600-1860', (half unit)


Kent’s list of publications


1. Monographs                                           


Mapping China’s Growth and Development in the Long Run, 221 BC to 2020. Pp. 250. London: World Scientific Press and ImperialCollege Press.


China’s Political Economy in Modern Times: Changes and Economic Consequences, 1800–2000. Pp. 296. Routledge, London and New York            


Maritime Sector, Institutions and Sea Power of Premodern China. Pp. 298. Greenwood Publishing Group, New York, London and WestPort.

The Chinese Premodern Economy – Structural Equilibrium and Capitalist Sterility. Pp. 421. Routledge, London and New York.


Chinese Maritime Activities and Socioeconomic Development, c. 2100 b.c. – 1900 a.d. Pp. 218. Greenwood Publishing Group, New York, London and WestPort.


 Development versus Stagnation: Technological Continuity and Agricultural Progress in Premodern China. Pp. 263. Greenwood Publishing Group, New York, London and WestPort.


2. Articles in peer-reviewed journals


Kent Deng and Patrick O’Brien, ‘Establishing Statistical Foundations of a Chronology for the Great Divergence: A Survey and Critique of the Primary Sources for the Construction of Relative Wage Levels for Ming-Qing China’, Economic History Review, 69/4 (2016), pp. 1057–82.

Kent Deng and Patrick O’Brien, ‘China’s GDP Per Capita from the Han Dynasty to Communist Times’, World Economics Journal, 17/2 (2016), pp. 79–123.


Kent Deng and Patrick O’Brien, ‘Nutritional Standards of Living in England and the Yangtze Delta (Jiangnan), c.1644 – c.1840’, The Journal of World History, 26/2 (2015), pp, 233–67 (formally accepted on 4th June 2015).

Kent Deng and Patrick O’Brien, ‘Can Debate on the Great Divergence be Located within the Kuznetsian Paradigm for an Empirical Form of Global Economic History?’ The Low Countries Journal of Social and Economic History,12/2 (2015), pp. 63–78.  

Kent Deng and Lucy Zheng, ‘Economic Restructuring and Demographic Growth, Demystifying Growth and Development in Northern Song China, 960–1127’, Economic History Review, 68/4 (2015), pp. 1107–31.


'A Survey of Recent Research in Chinese Economic History’, Journal of Economic Surveys, vol. no. (2014), pp. 600–16.

‘Myth of Ethnic Conflict and Ethnic Revolutions, 1644 to 1911’, Asian Ethnicity, vol. 15, no. 2 (2014), pp. 197–221.

‘From Economic Failure to Economic Reforms, Lessons from China’s Modern Growth, 1949 to 2012’, Groniek, no. 199 (2014), pp. 141–61.


3. Book chapters


‘Imperial China under the Song and Late Qing’, in Fiscal Regimes and Political Economy of Premodern States, ch. 10 (pp. 308–42). CambridgeUniversity Press. Editors: Andrew Monson and Walter Scheidel.


‘A Swinging Pendulum: the Chinese Way in Growth and Development from 1800 to the Present Day’, in China’s Many Dreams, Comparative Perspectives on China’s Search for National Rejuvenation, ch. 5. Palgrave Macmillan. Editor: David Kerr


  ‘Role of the State and State-building in Modern China: Review and New Insight’, in History at Stake in East Asia, ch. 2 (pp. 21–51). Cafoscarina, Venice. Editors: Rosa Caroli and Pierre Souyri


‘The Continuation and efficiency of the Chinese Fiscal State, 700 bc – ad 1911’, in The Rise of Fiscal States: A Global History, 1500–1914, ch. 14. Cambridge University Press. Editors: Bartolomé Yun-Casalilla and Patrick O’Brien.

‘Why Shipping Declined in China from the Middle Ages to the Nineteenth Century’, in Shipping and Economic Growth, 13501850, ch. 8 (pp. 207–22). Leiden and Boston: Brill Press. Editor: Richard Unger.


‘Globalisation, China’s Recent Miracle Growth and Its Limits’ in Globalization – Today, Tomorrow, ch. 9. SCIYO Press, Vienna. Editor: Kent Deng.


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. Einaudi, Torino (Italy). Editors: Guido Samarani and Maurizio Scarpari.


‘Decline of China’s Sea Power’, in China and Southeast Asia, ch. 1 (pp. 1–21), vol. 4 (six volumes in all). Routledge Press. Editor: Geoffrey Wade.


‘The State and Market in China’s Maritime Sector’, Zhongguo Haiyang Fazhanshi Lunwenji (Selected Essays on the Maritime History of China), vol. 9. Taipei: Academia Sinica. Pp. 479–555.Taipei: Academia Sinica. Editor: Liu Xufeng.


State Transformation, Reforms and Economic Performance in China, 1840–1910’, in Nation, State, and the Economy in History, ch. 16. (pp. 308–31). CambridgeUniversity Press. Editors: Alice Teichova and Herbert Matis.


4. Working papers 


and Jane Du, ‘To Get the Prices Right for Food: A “Gerschenkron State” versus the Market in Reforming China, 1979–2006’, Working Papers of Department of Economic History, LSE, No. 234, February, 2016.


and Patrick O’Brien ‘China’s GDP Per Capita from the Han Dynasty to Communist Times’. Working Papers of Department of Economic History, LSE, No. 229, December 2015.

‘China’s Population Expansion and Its Causes during the Qing Period, 1644–1911’. Working Papers of Department of Economic History, LSE, No. 219, May 2015.

and Patrick O’Brien, ‘Locating a Chronology for the Great Divergence: A Critical Survey of Published Data Deployed for the Measurement of Nominal Wages for Ming and Qing China,’ Working Papers of Department of Economic History, LSE, No. 213, January 2015.


and Patrick O’Brien, “‘Creative Destruction’: Chinese GDP per Capita from the Han to Modern Times,” European Historical Economics Society Working Paper No. 63, September 2014 (

and Patrick O’Brien, ‘Comparison of Incomes in the Yangtze Delta and England, circa 1600 to circa 1850’, website: Department of Economic History, LSE, September 2014.

and Patrick O’Brien, ‘Clarifying Data for Reciprocal Comparisons of Nutritional Standards of Living in England  and the Yangtze Delta (Jiangnan), c.1644 – c.1840’, Working Papers of Department of Economic History, LSE, No.207, August 2014.


‘Demystifying growth and development in North Song China, 960–1127’, Working Papers of Department of Economic History, LSE, No.178, June 2013.


‘Foreign Silver, China’s Economy and Globalisation of the Sixteen to Nineteenth Centuries’, Global History and Maritime Asia Working Paper No. 4 (January 2007), Graduate School of Letters, OsakaUniversity.


‘State-Building, the Original Push for Institutional Changes in Modern China, 1840–1950’. Working Papers of the Global Economic History Network (GEHN), Department of Economic History, LSE, No. 01/04, February 2004.


‘Fact or Fiction? Re-Examination of Chinese Premodern Population Statistics’. Economic History Department Working Papers, No. 68 (July 2003). LondonSchool of Economics.


‘Development and Its Deadlock in Imperial China, 221 b.c.–1840 a.d.’ Working Papers in Economic and Social History, No. 47 (March 2001). Department of History, University of Manchester.


‘What Formed the Main Obstacle to Fundamental Change in Traditional China? A New Insight’ Working Papers in Economic History, No. 48 (October, 1991), The FlindersUniversity of South Australia.