Professor Kent Deng

Professor Kent Deng

Professor of Economic History

Department of Economic History

+44 (0)20 7955 6163
Room No
SAR 5.17
Office Hours
Wednesday 1.30pm-3pm. No booking required
English, Mandarin
Key Expertise
Economic History, pre-modern and early modern China

About me

Research interests

Professor Deng research interests and writing includes 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.

Other key topics in his work are the 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 Economy and its Growth in the Very Long Term

EH446  Economic Development of East and Southeast Asia

EH486 Shipping and Sea Power in Asian Waters, c 1600-1860

Recent Publications 

1. Monographs                                           

With Dr. Yazhuo ZHENG, State Failure and Distorted Urbanisation in Post-Mao's China, 1993–2012. Pp. 182, London: Palgrave Macmillan Press.

2. Articles in peer-reviewed journals

With Jim Shen and Xiaojie Liu, ‘Endowment Structure, Property Rights and Reforms of Large Sate-owned Enterprises (SOEs) in China: Past, Present and Future’, Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, May (2022), pp. 1-18; available vide:

With Jim Sheng, ‘From State Resource Allocation to A ‘Low Level Equilibrium Trap’: Re-evaluation of Economic Performance of Mao’s China, 1949-78’. Current status: ‘revise and resubmit’ with The Journal of Economic and Social History of the Orient.

Kent Deng, Jim Shen and Sarah Tang, ‘Re-evaluating the ‘Smile Curve’ in Relation to Outsourcing Industrialization’, Emerging Markets Finance and Trade, 57/5 (2021), pp. 1247-1270 (Formally accepted on 20 November 2019, available vide: [1540496X]

Kent Deng and Shengmin Su, ‘China’s Extraordinary Population Expansion and Its Determinants during the Qing Period, 1644-1911’, Population Review 58/1 (2019), pp. 20-78.

邓钢, ‘西方经济史研究的十大流派’,《政治经济学报》(Chinese Journal of the Political Economy) 3/10 (2017), pp. 101-118.

Kent Deng and Luca Zan, ‘Micro Foundations in the Great Divergence Debate: Opening up the Perspective’, Accounting History, 22/4 (2017), pp. 530–53. 

Kent Deng and Jun DU, ‘To Get the Prices Right for Food: The State versus the Market in Reforming China, 1979–2006’, European Review of Economic History 21/3 (2017), pp. 302–25 (formally accepted on 31/03/2017; online: 10.1093/ereh/hex005). 

Kent Deng and Patrick O’Brien, ‘Why Maddison Was Wrong’, World Economics Journal, 18/2 (2017), pp. 21–41.

Kent Deng and Anne Booth, ‘Japanese Colonialism in Comparative Perspective’, The Journal of World History, 28/1 (2017), pp. 61–98.

3. Book chapters

‘The Evolution of China’s Political Economy of the Sea, 960-1900 CE’, in The Cambridge History of the Pacific Ocean, vol. I, pp. 521-48.Editors: Paul D'arcy, Ryan T. Jones and Matt K. Matsuda.  Publisher: Cambridge University Press

With Anne Booth, ‘Fiscal Development in Taiwan, Korea and Manchuria: Was Japanese Colonialism Different?’, in Fiscal Capacity and Colonial State in Asia and Africa, c. 1850-1960, ch. 5 (pp. 137-160).  Editors: Ewout Frankema and Anne Booth, Cambridge University Press

‘Economic History of Ming-Qing and Modern China’, in Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Economics and Finance, 2019,Editor: Andrew Marzoni, Oxford University Press. Available at doi:

‘One-Off Capitalism in Song China, 960-1279 AD’, in Capitalisms: Towards A Global History, Editors: Kaveh Yazdani and Dilip Menon, Oxford University Press

With Patrick O’Brien, ‘The Tyranny of Numbers: Are There Acceptable Data for Nominal and Real Wages for Pre-modern China?’, in Seven Centuries of Unreal Wages, ch. 3 (pp. 71–94),  Editors: John Hatcher and Judy Z. Stephenson, Palgrave MacMillan Press

‘The Evolution of China’s Political Economy of the Sea, 960-1900’, in Cambridge History of the Pacific Ocean, Editors: Ryan T. Jones and Matt K. Matsuda, Cambridge University Press

For an additional list of publications view Professor Deng's CV [PDF]


Expertise Details

China; peasantry; literati; maritime economic history; merchants; pre-modern and early modern China; state; western influence