Personal Statement
(某机构修改稿) Program: Ph.D. in Economics

Growing up along with the unprecedented growth of the Chinese economy over past twenty years, I had the good fortune to witness many marvelous yet puzzling economic phenomena firsthand rather than reading about them in a textbook. Because both my father and my uncle are economics professors, I have been raised with an inquisitive and critical eye and with an eagerness to search for explanations to the economic patterns I observe. Following in my family’s footsteps, I am currently studying economics at the School of Economics, Peking University, one of the most prestigious programs in China. At the School of Economics, I am working to explain the diverse and complicated economic phenomena in my home country through the lens of mainstream Western economic theories. After serious deliberation, I have concluded that the University of xxx is the best place for me to continue and to advance my study of economics.

I am passionate about economics because I view it as a science that brings tangible benefits to mankind. More than two centuries after Adam Smith laid the foundation for the market economy system, the study of economics has greatly contributed to the unprecedented productivity of current societies. In 1978, China decided to adopt Western economic system, thus entangling itself in Western ideals and practices in order to achieve rapid transformation. Now, more than twenty-five years after this renaissance of the Chinese economy, I long to explore the roots of the policies which the Chinese adopted and which have permitted more than 800 millions citizens to overcome poverty and to enjoy a quality of life that surpassed all expectations.

Today, China’s transformed society is facing record complications and numerous options for the future. In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith made the famous observation that individuals acting in their own self-interest can benefit society more than they expect to. After observing the economic patterns in my own country, I am certain that Adam’s prediction has a fundamental precondition. He may be accurate in the case of healthy and effectively-operated institutions, but in less “perfect” test cases, it might be more accurate to say, individuals acting in their own self-interest can harm society more than they expect to. The interplay between these two drastically different theories has been reflected in the reality of China’s economy. Since 1978, China’s market-oriented economic reform has promoted the economy to realize twenty-five years of rapid development, while simultaneously abnormal and even disordered business environment, distorted economic systems, and irrational business units has brought weighty risky pressure to China’s economy. My unique background has offered me the opportunity to examine Western theories through a more critical lens. Because I have witnessed the consequences of China’s unparalleled growth, I am more intuned to the limitations and dangers of adopting the Western model in non-Western countries.

While the economic research currently being conducted in China is the most dynamic and thorough in the country’s history, special interest groups still have the power to drain economic research of the most essential qualities for a science: objectivity and neutrality. Furthermore, China’s economic research often adopts much of the opportunism and pragmatism of Western theories without working out systemic analysis based on China’s society. As a result, describing, explaining, predicting, and directing China’s economic growth remains the most important intellectual challenge facing the economic academia of China. I am incredibly eager to tackle this challenge. Balancing my studies of Western models with my observations of Chinese realities will help me restore the much needed objectivity, neutrality, and integrity to the study of economics on China. I plan to focus on industry economics as my research area, and I am confident that this training will be provide me with the perspective to analyze both Western and Chinese theories critically.

As an international student, I would also bring a very unique and critical perspective to an American institution. Like many students I expect to encounter in the United States, I have been greatly impacted by the logical positivism of English philosopher Bertrand AW Russell. Complimenting this more conventional inspiration, however, is my passionate interest in Sung and Ming Neo-Confucianism. Chinese and Western philosophies are totally different expanded paths of thinking, but it will prove invaluable for me and for my classmates to juxtapose the intellectual resources of both backgrounds.

In addition to my more theoretical studies, in my undergraduate career, I have also been learning to utilize the methods of modeling to make rudimentary exploration of various fields such as research on industry agglomeration, risk analysis of vertical division of labor internationally, shareholders voting methods, and mechanism of property rights. Some of my essays on these topics have already been published in national core periodicals.

My practical approach to economics is also greatly enhanced by the fact that I currently double major in mathematics and applied mathematics. To my eye, mathematics is first and foremost a kind of language, and only through this language can economics realize its own precise expression. Compared to the long history of mathematics, economics is still very young, but my studies have been greatly enlightened by expanding the logical example that mathematics sets forth.

Although the new field of modern economics and people’s understanding of macroeconomic and microeconomic phenomena has developed at an unbelievable rate, the study of economics itself does not end here at all; on the contrary, it just begins. I am excited by the opportunity to participate in this fast-paced field and to help with the analysis and development of both my national economy in China and economies worldwide. I am fully confident that my unique and comprehensive training has prepared me for this challenging undertaking.


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