John Knight



John Knight

Emeritus Professor



John Knight retired from his professorship in the Department of Economics and from his tutorial fellowship at St Edmund Hall in 2008. He continues to be research-active, mainly on the Chinese economy – which he regards as the most interesting economy in the world. His recent books are Towards a Labour Market in China, OUP, 2005 (with Lina Song), which won a Princeton prize for ‘the outstanding book in labor economics and industrial relations published in 2005’, and China’s Remarkable Economic Growth, OUP, 2012 (with Sai Ding).

Since his retirement John Knight has held short term visiting professorships at Peking University (CCER) or Beijing Normal University each year from 2010 to 2018, and has been an active participant at conferences and meetings on the Chinese economy.

He is Academic Director of the Oxford Chinese Economy Programme (OXCEP), based at St Edmund Hall. OXCEP runs two-week summer courses in Economics and in Medicine for professors from top Chinese universities, and hosts occasional distinguished speaker lectures.

His research on China has been much assisted by his long term membership of the China Household Income Project (CHIP). Now based at Beijing Normal University, CHIP has conducted six periodic national household surveys over the years 1988-2018, designed by the Chinese and international research team.





Among his recent (2014‒) publications specifically on China are:

‘Subjective well-being and social evaluation: a case study of China’, in Clark and Senik (eds), Happiness and Economic Growth, OUP, 2014 (with Ramani Gunatilaka).

‘China as a developmental state’, The World Economy, 2014.

‘China’s expansion of higher education: the labour market consequences of a supply shock’, China Economic Review, 2017 (with Li Shi and Deng Quheng).

‘China’s evolving inequality’, Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, 2017.

‘Minorities in rural China: poorer but inherently happier?’, in Gustafsson, Hasmath and Ding (eds), Ethnicity and Inequality in China, Routledge, 2021 (with Li Shi and Yuan Chang).

‘Why did China’s inequality of household wealth increase rapidly in the twenty-first century?’, Review of Income and Wealth, 2021, early view (with Li Shi and Wan Haiyuan).

‘The puzzle of falling happiness despite rising income in rural China: eleven hypotheses’, Economic Development and Cultural Change, 2022, forthcoming (with Ramani Gunatilaka and Bianjing Ma).

Current China research: ‘Income inequality and happiness: which inequalities matter in China?’; ‘The receding housing ladder: house price inflation, parental support, and the intergenerational distribution of housing in China’; ‘The quality of society and happiness: trust and fairness in China’.