Dr Kent G. Deng

Title and contact details

  • Associate Professor (Reader) in Economic History
  • Room C213
  • Tel: +44 (0)20 7955 6163
  • Fax: +44 (0)20 7955 7730
  • k.g.deng@lse.ac.uk

Research interests

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.

Current research projects and just completed research

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

Current teaching

  • EH327 Innovation and Its Finance in the 19th and 20th Centuries
  • 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.

Administrative responsibility

  • 2000: Chair of MSc Examiners' Board, Economic History

Extra curriculum

  1. Fellow of Royal Historical Society (FRHistS)
  2. 2000: Secretary of 'History and Economic Development Group UK'
  3. Convenor of China in Comparative Perspective Network
  4. Associate member of LSE Asia Research Centre
  5. Deputy Director of Confucius Institute for Business, London

Selected publications


  • 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". In Economic 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.


  • Hong Kong “China’s Recent Miracle Growth and Its Limits”. The Third All China Economics International Conference, City University of Hong Kong, 14–16 December, 2009, Hong Kong.
  • London ‘The Qing State and the Chinese Economy 1644–1911’. One-day conference of ‘The State and Status of the Divergence Debate. China and the West from the Accession of the Qing to the Opium War c. 1644–1840’. 26th June 2009. London School of Economics.
  • Beijing ‘Benchmarking China’s Growth, 1800 to 2000’. Workshop of Chinese Economic History. 6th June 2009, School of Economics, Peking University.
  • Osaka ‘When and Why the Chinese Turned to the Sea’. The First Congress of the Asian Association of World Historians. 29–31 May 2009, Osaka University.
  • London ‘The Communist State with Maoist Living Standards, 1956–1976’. The Puzzle of National Markets and Standards of Living: China’s Economic History Revisited. 7th May 2009, SOAS, London.
  • New York ‘Silver in Global History’, jointly with Dr. Maria Alejendra Irigoin. The 123 American History Association Conference, 2–6 January 2009. Hilton New York, New York.


  • Guangzhou ‘A Withering State during the Qing Period and Its Consequences’. ‘Economic History Conference in Memory of Professor Liang Fangzhong’s 100th Birthday’, 19–21 November, 2008. Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China.
  • London ‘The True Face of the Taiping Rebellion’. University of London Network on An Exploration into the Sources for a Social History of Disasters in China, 5th June 2008. SOAS.


  • Urumqi ‘Nature of the Qing State’. “Second International Conference on Periods from Late Qing onwards” 19–22 August 2007. Institute of Modern History of China, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. University of Xinjiang.
  • 2007: Sydney ‘The Silver Economy of Traditional China’. Asian-Pacific Economic and Business History Conference, 12–14 February, 2007. University of Sydney, Australia.
  • 2007: Osaka ‘Foreign Silver, China’s Economy and Globalisation of the Sixteen to Nineteenth Centuries’ and ‘The State and Market in China’s Maritime Sector during Premodern Times’. Osaka Global History Network Seminar Series, 12–14 January, 2007. University of Osaka, Japan.


  • Washington D.C. ‘Sweet and Sour Confucianism, Impact of Culture on the Qing State and the Fate of the Qing Empire’. The Global Economic History Network (GEHN). 8–10 September, 2006. George Mason University, Washington D.C.
  • Helsinki (1) ‘Global Areas of Cotton Textile Production and Manufacturing, c. 1200-1700: Summary of Organisation of Production, Technology, the Role of Raw Materials, and the Socio-cultural Influences of the Industry’, Session 59 ‘Cotton Textiles as a Global Industry, 1200-1850’, organized by Kent Deng (UK), Prasannan Parthasarathi (USA) and Giorgio Riello (UK). (2) ‘Key Factors for the Growth of China's Traditional Maritime Sector’, Session 114 ‘A Maritime Girdle of Commerce: Asian Seaborne Trade 10th-13th Centuries’, organized by Geoff Wade (Singapore). The XIV International Economic History Congress (IEHC), 21–5 August 2006. University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
  • Hong Kong ‘Miracle or Mirage? Foreign Silver, China’s Economy and Globalisation of the Sixteen to Nineteenth Centuries’. ‘Lessons from History’ Conference. Hong Kong Economic Association (HKEA). 9–10 June, 2006. Institute of Humanities and Social Sciences, Lingnan University.
  • LSE ‘The Real Role of Silver in the Ming-Qing Economy’. The Global Economic History Network (GEHN). ‘Silver and Globalisation’. 5th June 2006
  • Kaohsiung (Taiwan) ‘Movers and Shakers of Knowledge in China during the Ming-Qing Period’. The Global Economic History Network (GEHN). 9–11 May, 2006. Wenzao College, Kaohsiung.
  • Reading ‘The Nanking Treaty System, Institutional Changes, and Improved Economic Performance in Qing China’. The Economic History Society Annual Conference. 31 March – 2 April, 2006, University of Reading.
  • Tourtour (France) (1) ‘Porcelain in premodern China’, and (2) ‘Cotton and the Cotton Economy in China, c. 600–1900 A.D.’ Foundation Les Treilles. 20–5 March 2006, Tourtour, France.
  • London ‘The Silver Economy in Ming-Qing China’, Annual Workshop of ‘The Third World History and Economic Development Group, UK’, 15th February, 2006, SOAS.


  • Leipzig (Germany) (1) ‘Production, Diffusion and Socio-economic Incentives of Useful and Reliable Knowledge in Ming-Qing China (1368-1840)’ Panel 20 ‘Useful and Reliable Knowledge in Global History’; (2) ‘The Nanking Treaty of Globalisation in China’. Panel 25 ‘Early Era of Globalisation’.
  • First European Congress of World and Global History. 22 – 25 September, 2005, Universitat Leipzig.
  • Utrecht (Netherlands) ‘Why Was the Factor Market So Weak in pre-Opium War China?’ The Global Economic History Network (GEHN). 23–25 June, 2005, University of Utrecht.
  • London ‘Lessons from History: The impact of American silver on China’s trade surpluses’. China-Latin America Colloquium. 3 June, 2005, Centre for the Study of Democracy, University of Westminster.
  • London ‘Commercialisation in Qing China: What the Difference did the West Make?’ Annual Workshop of ‘The Third World History and Economic Development Group, UK’, 1 June, 2005, LSE.
  • London ‘China: How Cities Functioned in Skill/Knowledge Creation and Diffusion’. Gerry Martin Memorial Colloquium. 7–8 April 2005. Senate House, London.
  • Hong Kong ‘Socio-political Changes and Economic Performances in modern China, c. 1840–c. 1926’. 2nd Conference on Institutional Economic History of Late Qing and Republic China. 19–20 March, 2005. The Chinese University of Hong Kong.


  • Buenos Aries (Argentina) Continuation and Efficiency of the Fiscal State in China, a Long-term View. XIII Economic History Congress, Hilton Hotel Buenos Aries, 22-26 July, 2002.
  • Nuffield, Oxford (UK) 'The Great Divergence: When Did It All Begin? China's Side of the Story'. Colloquium on The Great Divergence, Nuffield College, Oxford, 31 May, 2002.
  • LSE (UK) 'State-building as the Cause of Institutional Change and Fixation: the Chinese Case'. The UK Third World Economic History and Development Group Conference, LSE. 7 May, 2002.
  • Windsor (UK) 'Mines, Energy, Atmospheric Pressure and Steam Power in China'. 'The Evolution and Diffusion of Steam Power and Steam Engines in in Europe Compared with China from 1589 to 1914, Global History Programme Conference 2002'. Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Great Park. 15-17 April, 2002.
  • The Hague (Netherlands) 'The Role of the State in Chinese History in the Long Term'. The Fourth European Social Science History Conference. 27 February - 2 March, 2002. The Hague.


  • Shanghai (China) 'Problematic Growth and Problematic Development under Maoism, 1949-1978'. 'Economic Growth with Equality'. Ford Foundation, Australian Chinese Scholars' Society for Economic Studies and Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. 13-16 December, 2001. Shanghai.
  • Tel Aviv (Israel) 'Commercialisation and Consumption in Northern Song China, the Kaifeng Case'. 'History of Consumption and Gender International Interdisciplinary Workshop'. The Historical Society of Israel (in cooperation with University of Sussex and Freie Universität Berlin). 10-13 June, 2001. Tel Aviv University.
  • Madrid (Spain) 'Continuation and Efficiency of A Fiscal State in China, 1644-1911'. 'The Formation and Efficiency of Fiscal States in Europe and Asia 1500-1914'. Instituto de Estudios Fiscales, Ministerio de Economia y Hacienda. 21-23 June, 2001.
  • Royal Holloway (UK) 'Copycat Economic Growth under Mao, 1949-1978'. The UK Third World Economic History and Development Group Conference, Royal Holloway (Egham), University of London. 10 May, 2001.
  • Windsor (UK) 'The Imperial Regime and Merchants of China, Conceptualisation of the Problem, its Causes and Raison D'être'. 'States, Smithian Growth and Markets in Europe and Asia, Global History Programme Conference 2001'. Cumberland Lodge, Windsor Great Park. 27-29 April, 2001.

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.


  • Sydney "Economic Growth of the PRC, 1949–2009". Faculty of Business and Economics, Macquarie University, 11th September 2009, Sydney, Australia.
  • Canberra "The Qing Withering State and Its Consequences, 1750–1910". Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University, 1st September 2009, Canberra, Australia.
  • Melbourne "Benchmarking China's Growth, 1800 to 2000, with A Special Reference to the PRC Period". School of Economics and Finance, La Trobe University, 28th August 2009, Melbourne, Australia.
  • Perth "The Patterns of Maoist Growth and China's Living Standards, 1956-1976". Business School, The University of Western Australia, 21st August 2009, Perth, Australia.
  • 2009: Perth "Great Divergence in Asia: A Comparison of Growth Patterns between China and Japan in History". Curtin Business School, Curtin University of Technology, 20th August, Perth, Australia.
  • Wellington "The Political Economy of Maoism and Living Standards in China, 1956-1976". School of Economics and Finance, Victoria University of Wellington, 18th August, Wellington, New Zealand.
  • Rome "Changes in China: Dynamics and Consequences". Confindustria, Rome. 22nd July 2009.
  • Rome "Southeast Asia: slowdown in growth and its impact on Chinese economy". Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), Rome. 17th June 2009.
  • Nankai "Movers and Shakers of Knowledge in China during the Ming-Qing Period". Department of Economics, Nankai University, Tianjin. 4th June 2009.
  • Warwick "The Qing Proto-Welfare State and Its Impact on the Chinese Economy". Department of History, Warwick University. 22nd April, 2009.


  • Hong Kong "State, State-building and China's Economic Growth in the 20th Century". Department of Economics and Finance, Faculty of Business, City University of Hong Kong. 18th November, 2008.
  • Hong Kong "Current Debate in Chinese Economic History". Humanities, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. 17th November, 2008.
  • Nankai "Silver and Its Impact on the Chinese Economy during the Ming and Qing Period". Department of Economics, Nankai University, Tianjin. 14th November 2008.
  • LSE "Growth by Learning from the Outside World: China's Past 150 Years' History". LSE China Development Society. 25th January, 2006.


  • Kaohsiung, Taiwan 'Cultural Parallel and Economic Growth in Chinese and European Historical Encounters, 1570–1870'. 14 December, 2005


  • Capital Normal University, Beijing 'Critical Issues on Chinese Economic History in Comparison with Europe'. Department of History. 7 July, 2001.
  • Central Academy of the Communist Party, Beijing 'Current Development in Western Scholarship on Chinese Economic History'. Faculty of Literature and History. 6 July, 2001.
  • University of Manchester 'Why China fell behind the West?' 'Economic and Social History Research Seminars', Department of History, The University of Manchester, 8 February, 2001.
  • Oxford University 'Political Economy of the Chinese Empire, 221 B.C. - 1911 A.D.'. Asia Pacific Society of Oxford University, 6 February, 2001.
  • Capital Normal University, Beijing 'Theoretical Debate on Chinese Past in the West'. Department of History and Department of Politics and Law Studies joint. 3 January, 2001.


  • University of Tokyo 'Structural Equilibrium, Its Formation and Impact in Chinese Economic History'. Research Institute of East Asian Culture. 13 December, 2000.

Curriculum vitae