‘SCID’ head helps build US-China ties BIO

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICA - By Qi­dong Zhang in San Fran­cisco kel­lyzhang@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

Nick Hope is re­spon­si­ble for the World Bank’s lend­ing some $10 bil­lion to China for about 50 de­vel­op­ment projects across a full range of sec­tors, in­clud­ing agri­cul­ture, in­dus­try, elec­tric­ity, trans­port, ur­ban de­vel­op­ment, ed­u­ca­tion and health, and di­rect in­ter­ven­tions to re­duce poverty.

He su­per­vised the flow of tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance to the Chi­nese govern­ment and had over­sight of the eco­nomic and sec­tor work pro­grams, cul­mi­nat­ing in the sem­i­nal study: China 2020 which was re­leased dur­ing the 1997 an­nual meet­ings of the World Bank and In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund in Hong Kong.

In the last 15 years as deputy di­rec­tor and then di­rec­tor of Stan­ford Univer­sity’s Cen­ter for In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment, Hope has hosted or men­tored some 70 vis­it­ing schol­ars from China’s min­istries of Fi­nance and Com­merce, think tanks such as the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sci­ences (CASS), the Chi­nese Se­cu­ri­ties Reg­u­la­tory Com­mis­sion (CSRC), the State Ad­min­is­tra­tion of For­eign Ex­change (SAFE) and nu­mer­ous uni­ver­si­ties from across the coun­try. Many of SCID’s vis­i­tors are Chi­nese pub­lic of­fi­cials and eco­nomic pol­icy mak­ers.

“The pur­pose of SCID’s re­search pro­gram is to in­form poli­cies. Through rig­or­ous re­search fo­cused on large emerg­ing eco­nom­ics, we con­duct com­par­a­tive anal­y­sis of eco­nomic poli­cies so that we have sto­ries to tell about what went well, what went wrong, and which poli­cies are mostly likely to suc­ceed,” said Hope.

The China vis­i­tors’ pro­gram be­gan fol­low­ing a train­ing pro­gram that SCID or­ga­nized for 30-plus of­fi­cials of China’s Fi­nance Min­istry in 2002. Even­tu­ally a one-way ex­change pro­gram was es­tab­lished be­tween the Fi­nance Min­istry and SCID, with four of­fi­cials — two each for a 6-month vis­it­ing pro­gram — com­ing each year. The suc­cess of the ini­tial pro­gram led to the de­vel­op­ment of a sim­i­lar pro­gram for of­fi­cials from the Min­istry of Com­merce.

“From my ex­pe­ri­ence at the World Bank with China, I learned that China doesn’t par­tic­u­larly value for­eign­ers’ opin­ions of what China should do, since they be­lieve few out­siders have enough knowl­edge of Chi­nese cul­ture and his­tory to make re­li­able pre­scrip­tions,” Hope said. “Their main in­ter­est was in learn­ing what other coun­tries, in­clud­ing the US, have done to tackle prob­lems sim­i­lar to those that China was fac­ing; what dif­fi­cul­ties were en­coun­tered and how were they over­come. There­fore, send­ing pol­icy mak­ers to re­search these is­sues at SCID and in­ter­act with Stan­ford’s out­stand­ing re­searchers re­ally makes sense.”

Jianghuai Zheng, pro­fes­sor of eco­nom­ics at Nan­jing Univer­sity, said his op­por­tu­nity at SCID to learn Western eco­nomic the­ory by at­tend­ing lec­tures and sem­i­nars has been “pre­cious”. “I came to re­al­ize that the de­vel­op­ment and in­no­va­tion of Western eco­nom­ics was largely based on math­e­mat­ics and sta­tis­ti­cal anal­y­sis, ” he said.

Hope is orig­i­nally from Ho­bart, Tas­ma­nia in Aus­tralia. He at­tended the Univer­sity of Tas­ma­nia and Ox­ford Univer­sity as a Rhodes Scholar and later re­ceived a doc­toral de­gree in eco­nom­ics from Prince­ton Univer­sity. He was awarded “the Or­der of Aus­tralia” medal in 2012, which rec­og­nizes Aus­tralian cit­i­zens for achieve­ment or for mer­i­to­ri­ous ser­vice.

Hope’s en­gage­ment with China be­gan in 1983 when he trav­eled to Bei­jing for the first time to ad­vise fi­nan­cial agencies of the Chi­nese govern­ment on as­pects of for­eign bor­row­ing poli­cies and ex­ter­nal debt man­age­ment. That di­a­logue con­tin­ued through 1986 with a fol­low-up visit to Bei­jing and Chi­nese vis­its to the World Bank in Wash­ing­ton.

Sub­se­quently, he be­came an op­er­a­tions di­vi­sion chief, among other things, on lend­ing for in­dus­trial and agri­cul­tural en­ter­prises in China, pri­mar­ily through the China In­vest­ment Bank and the Agri­cul­tural Bank of China.

His move to Stan­ford was mo­ti­vated by a de­sire to con­tinue to work closely on is­sues re­lated to Chi­nese eco­nomic pol­icy re­forms; the sub­se­quent ac­tiv­i­ties of SCID’s China pro­gram. Dur­ing many trips to China in the past decade, Hope be­came an ex­ter­nal board mem­ber of the China In­sti­tute of Pub­lic Fi­nance, Shang­hai Univer­sity of Fi­nance and Eco­nom­ics; a mem­ber of the In­ter­na­tional Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee of Ren­min Univer­sity, School of Busi­ness; and a mem­ber of the aca­demic coun­cil of the In­ter­na­tional Fi­nance Fo­rum, Bei­jing.

He said he re­gards him­self as for­tu­nate to have met for­mer Chi­nese pre­mier Zhu Rongji, whom he num­bers among his three eco­nomic pol­icy-mak­ing he­roes along with the late Pro­fes­sor Wid­jojo Ni­ti­sas­tro, In­done­sia’s best-known pol­icy econ­o­mist, and Paul Vol­cker, chair­man of the US Federal Re­serve un­der pres­i­dents Jimmy Carter and Ron­ald Rea­gan(1979-1987).

Among pic­tures with Zhu, China’s for­mer pres­i­dent Jiang Zemin and for­mer pre­mier Li Peng on his book­shelf, Hope de­scribed Zhu as “tough, vi­sion­ary and shrewd” as a politi­cian and econ­o­mist. He said he wit­nessed his bril­liance in pre­sen­ta­tions dur­ing the World Bank an­nual meet­ing in Hong Kong in 1997 and be­came fa­mil­iar with Zhu’s tac­tics ear­lier when he was the China pro­gram di­rec­tor at World Bank.

“He was so bril­liant in ad­vanc­ing China on the in­ter­na­tional stage. The com­mit­ments he made to gain China ac­ces­sion to the WTO (World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion) were ex­tra­or­di­nary. He gave so much that do­mes­tic po­lit­i­cal risks must have been se­vere, but I thought then and now: what a wise man. Zhu was a fel­low who, un­like some ne­go­tia­tors from other coun­tries, was will­ing to make large con­ces­sions to ex­pand in­ter­na­tional trade, know­ing that by do­ing so China was do­ing it­self a fa­vor. The pro­duc­tiv­ity boost that China has gained from com­pet­ing vig­or­ously in­ter­na­tion­ally has con­trib­uted to the great suc­cess of the pol­icy of open­ing-up,” said Hope.

Ac­cord­ing to Hope, Zhu made sure that China would be­come a ma­jor player in in­ter­na­tional trade, and also saw his legacy as com­mit­ting the govern­ment to re­forms that would have to be done af­ter he was gone.

Zhu’s last­ing legacy in China, ac­cord­ing to Hope, will be em­bel­lished by his work in two pe­ri­ods: 1993-1995, when he demon­strated the ca­pac­ity to man­age the Chi­nese econ­omy that had been rec­og­nized by Deng Xiaop­ing, fi­nally end­ing the boom-bust cy­cles that emerged in the 1980s, and is­su­ing the blue­print for re­form that was ap­proved at the third plenum of the 14th Party Congress; and in what he did from 19972001 to guide China through the East Asian fi­nan­cial cri­sis, ini­ti­ate ma­jor re­forms in the fi­nan­cial and en­ter­prise sec­tors, and se­cure China’s ac­ces­sion to the WTO.

“In 1993 the Chi­nese econ­omy was go­ing through an in­cred­i­ble peak to the boom-bust cy­cle, with un­sus­tain­ably rapid eco­nomic growth ac­com­pa­nied by dan­ger­ously high in­fla­tion. Yet Zhu was able to squeeze the in­fla­tion out of the econ­omy and do it with­out sac­ri­fic­ing too much growth and with­out ex­ces­sive job loss. He used the limited macro-eco­nomic in­stru­ments that were avail­able to him com­bined with di­rect con­trols in a way that was re­ally much more art than sci­ence in get­ting the econ­omy back on track. Zhu was a pol­icy-mak­ing ge­nius; I have noth­ing but ad­mi­ra­tion for him,” Hope said.

Mar­ried to his wife Ellen for 46 years and with three chil­dren (Charles, Stephen and Katharine) and four grand­chil­dren, Hope said his re­tire­ment from SCID is im­mi­nent and the legacy he wants to leave at Stan­ford is his con­tri­bu­tion to a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing be­tween the US and China of the pol­icy prob­lems with which each coun­try’s lead­ers have to con­tend.

NI­CHOLAS HOPE

BS, math­e­mat­ics, Univer­sity of Tas­ma­nia, Aus­tralia BA, math­e­mat­ics, Ox­ford Univer­sity MP, eco­nom­ics, Ox­ford Univer­sity PhD, eco­nom­ics, Prince­ton Univer­sity Lec­turer in eco­nom­ics, Monash Univer­sity World Bank, coun­try di­rec­tor for China and Mon­go­lia; di­rec­tor, res­i­dent staff in In­done­sia Di­rec­tor, China pro­gram, SCID Di­rec­tor, Stan­ford Cen­ter for In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment (SCID)

“The re­la­tion­ship be­tween the US and China is the most im­por­tant re­la­tion­ship of this century and nei­ther coun­try can af­ford any se­ri­ous con­flict, ei­ther mil­i­tary or eco­nomic. What I have tried to do in SCID’s China pro­gram is to have US schol­ars un­der­stand what pol­icy mak­ers are think­ing about in China, and to have our vis­it­ing Chi­nese schol­ars and pol­icy mak­ers un­der­stand the US econ­omy through their study and in­ter­ac­tion with our schol­ars.”

QI­DONG ZHANG / CHINA DAILY

Nick Hope, di­rec­tor of Stan­ford Univer­sity’s Cen­ter for In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment.

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