Dr Debin Ma

Dr Debin Ma

Associate Professor

Department of Economic History

+44 (0)20 7955 7201
Room No
SAR 6.12
Office Hours
on leave 2019-20
Connect with me

Key Expertise
Economic History, Chinese Economic History

About me

Dr Ma's research interests include long-term economic growth in East Asia; international comparison of living standards, human capital and productivity; institutions, legal traditions, long-run growth and global history and the economics of the silk sector.


EH207 The Making of an Economic Superpower: China since 1850

EH401/414/481 Historical Analysis of Economic Change



Select publications


Evolution of Living Standards and Human Capital in China in 18-20th Century (co-authored with Joerg Baten, Stephen Morgan and Qing Wang) Explorations in Economic History, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp. 347-359 (July 2010).

Wages, Prices, and Living Standards in China, 1738-1925: in Comparison with Europe, Japan and India (co-authored with Robert Allen, Jean-Pascal Bassino, Christine Moll-Murata and Jan Luiten van Zanden)Economic History Review Vol. 64, No. S1 2011, pp.8-38.

From Divergence to Convergence: Re-evaluating the History Behind China's Economic Boom (2013) co-authored with Loren Brandt and Thomas G. Rawski. Journal of Economic Literature 2014, 52(1), 45–123.

State capacity and great divergence, the case of Qing China (1644–1911), Eurasian Geography and Economics, 2014, 54:5-6, 484-499


Edited Book:

Law and Long-Term Economic Change: an Eurasian Perspective (co-edited with Jan Luiten van Zanden): Stanford University Press 2011.

See the CEPR working paper version No. 8385 (2011) of an earlier version of my chapter 3 in this book titled "Law and Economy in Traditional China, a Legal Origin Perspective on Great Divergence"  available online at www.cepr.org/pubs/dps/DP8385.asp.

Also see the short piece on my chapter "Legal Origin, a Chinese Perspective" at VOX. 


Book Chapters

The Great Silk Exchange: How the World was Connected and Developed in Pacific Centuries: Pacific and Pacific Rim History Since the 16th Century, edited by D. Flynn, L. Frost and A.J.H. Latham, Routledge Press, 1998. Reprinted as Chapter 1 in Ma, D. (ed.) Volume 12: Textiles in the Pacific, 1500-1900, series The Pacific World: 'Lands, Peoples and History of the Pacific, 1500-1900', Ashgate Variorum, Aldershot, 2005.


Book Reviews

Avner Greif Institutions and the path to the modern economy: lessons from medieval trade. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Journal of Global History, Volume 5Issue 01, March 2010, pp 178-180.

Jean-Laurent Rosenthal and R. Bin Wong, Before and Beyond Divergence: The Politics of Economic Change in China and Europe. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011. Reviewed for EH.Net. archived athttp://eh.net/book_reviews/and-beyond-divergence-politics-economic-change-china-and-europe.