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Academic Courses

A number of courses taught at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and School of Business (CBS) are relevant to the APEC Study Center because of the combination of their substantive and country-specific or regional focus.



This capstone seminar was offered by SIPA in the spring, and taught by Dean Merit E. Janow.  The course examined the drivers behind the increasing merger and acquisition (M&A) activity by Chinese manufacturing companies.  Students discerned aggregate trends in Chinese outbound M&A by country and sector in order to understand to what extent the focus has shifted from resource-driven transactions to manufacturing and services, as well as how much the government is driving this development as opposed to market forces. They reviewed the incentives that the Chinese government has developed to encourage outbound M&A and investment, as well as regulatory barriers and other competitive disadvantages for Chinese companies.


This seminar was offered at CLS in spring semester 2013, and taught by Thomas Kellogg, Lecturer-in-Law and Anthea Roberts, Professor of Law.  Over the past thirty years, China has gone from one of the most isolated countries in the world to a major player in international affairs, a leading exporter, and a much more influential voice on regional security matters. Yet even with the rapid economic growth and increased influence that China has achieved over the past several decades, it maintains an ambivalent attitude towards many key aspects of international law and the architecture of global order. This class will explore China’s ambivalent engagement with international law in the context of its increasing prominence as an emerging power, and will in particular look to address the question of how China might adapt to the existing world order, and the ways in which it might look to influence its evolution. The class covered a range of issues, including China’s membership in the WTO; its engagement with the international human rights regime; its approach to international cooperation on issues like global warming and nuclear non-proliferation; international law aspects of the dispute over the South China Sea; and others.


This course was taught in the fall semester by Daniel Rosen, an adjunct associate professor at SIPA, visiting fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington and founder of Rhodium Group, a macro-strategic advisory firm focused on China, India and climate policy based in New York. Through this seminar, students develop an integrated perspective on the Chinese economy and the policy environment and choices that are under consideration by and available to policy makers and business executives. The global implications of the changing nature and structure of the Chinese economy are examined. The objective of the seminar is mastery of available evidence on the current state of the Chinese economy and its global implications. It is designed to be equally useful to professionals in policy or commercial fields, both from a Chinese perspective and from the viewpoint of China’s major trade and investment partners. The course is interdisciplinary and works with macro-economic and micro-economic perspectives, as well as the larger policy and legal contexts.


This lecture course is offered by the Department of Economics in the fall semester, and is generally taught by David E. Weinstein, Carl S. Shoup Professor of the Japanese Economy at Columbia’s Department of Economics. However, last year, during the second year of Professor Weinstein’s term as chair of the Department of Economics, it was taught by visiting professor Edward Lincoln, professorial lecturer at George Washington University.  It covers Japan’s economic organization, structure and performance from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, focusing on the postwar period.  Special emphasis is placed on the character of Japanese economic policy making as well as on the behavior of Japanese enterprises, financial institutions, labor force and households.  In addition, there is considerable discussion of Japan’s recent economic condition.


This lecture course is offered by the Department of Economics in the spring semester, and is taught by Carl Riskin, senior research scholar and adjunct professor of economics.  Professor Riskin conducts an analytical survey of the economic history of China since 1949, with some initial discussion of major issues in China’s pre-Communist economic history. Principal themes of the course include the evaluation of the development record of the Maoist period and exploration of China’s unique approach to the transition from central planning to a market economy.


This lecture course is offered by the Economics Department in the spring semester, and is taught by Padma Desai, Gladys and Roland Harriman Professor of Comparative Economic Systems. Professor Desai covers reform issues in transition economies such as price liberalization, currency reform, asset privatization, macroeconomic stabilization, trade liberalization and exchange rate policies, and foreign resource flows. She uses examples from the experience of the transition economies of Russia, the post-Soviet states, East-Central Europe, China and Vietnam, including discussion of the recent financial crisis.


This lecture course is offered by the Economics Department in the spring semester, and is taught by Padma Desai, Gladys and Roland Harriman Professor of Comparative Economic Systems.  The first section deals with several transition issues in the post-Soviet, East Central European, and the East Asian economies of China and Vietnam as they moved from a planned to a market system. These issues relate to price liberalization and inflation control, currency reform, and asset privatization in these countries. The second section deals with the opening up of these emerging markets to a global economy via capital flows and exchange rate movements with a potentially destabilizing impact. The final section deals with the causes and consequences of the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1999 and of the recent global crisis which originated in the US toward the end of 2007.


This lecture course was offered by CLS in the fall, and was taught by Owen Nee, Lecturer-in-Law.  It introduces students from a common law background to international business and investment transactions with China. It covers all forms of commercial and investment transactions with China, from international sales contracts to the formation of domestic businesses. The focus of the course is a detailed examination of the principal Chinese laws regulating such business.  Students learn China has moved from a State-planned economic system to a system where the market mechanism plays the primary role in regulating commercial activities, while allowing a continuing role for the prevalent political forces in the country. The likely future course of economic regulation in China will be examined, including corporate governance reforms, stock market regulation, antitrust and bankruptcy law developments.


This seminar was offered by CBS in the spring semester in Shanghai, and was taught by Shang-Jin Wei, N.T. Wang Professor of Chinese Business and Economy and director of the Jerome A. Chazen Institute of International Business.  This case study of China discusses how the Chinese economy has gotten to where it is by managing three transitions simultaneously: from Marx to market, from an inward-looking Middle Kingdom to an externally-oriented world factory, and from farming to industrialization. It focuses particularly on the role of Hong Kong for international business in China. Finally, it considers factors that could influence the chance of success/failure of doing business in China, including the history that lives in the Chinese psyche, laws and regulations toward foreign investors, local financial and macroeconomic environment, corruption, and negotiation style.


This lecture course is offered by CLS in the fall, and is taught by Professor Benjamin Liebman.  This course surveys contemporary Chinese legal attitudes and institutions in historical and comparative perspective.  The course begins with a brief examination of certain key themes and practices in China's traditional legal order and an appraisal of China's early-twentieth-century effort to import a Western legal model.  The major portion of the term is devoted to a study of formal and informal legal institutions and procedures in the criminal and civil processes of the People's Republic of China and China's contemporary legal reform efforts.  Topics will include an examination of the roles of the legal profession and the judiciary, the sources of law in contemporary China, efforts to use law to address China's growing environmental problems, and the development of China's legal framework governing financial markets.


This lecture course is offered by the Department of Economics in the fall semester, and is taught by Donald Davis, Kathryn & Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of Economics & International Affairs.  Professor Davis discusses the theory of comparative advantage, the gains from trade, trade and income distribution, international factor mobility, and growth and trade.

Contact Us

APEC Study Center at Columbia University
Columbia University, 3022 Broadway
2M-9 Uris Hall
New York, NY 10027-7004

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