Ms Menggelisha


ms menggelisha



Ms Menggelisha

DPhil candidate, Faculty of History


My name is Menggelisha, from Beijing, China. I am a second year DPhil student focusing on the long term Chinese economic growth from 1840 to 2010. My research is sponsored by a CSC scholarship. Both my DPhil and MSc in Economic and Social History have been taken at Oxford. Before joining Oxford, I worked as a management trainee in Lloyds Banking Group for two years. I completed my undergraduate degree at the Durham University with first-class honours and the 'Durham Award'. 

My research interest lies in the long-term economic performance of China and broad China studies from a historical perspective.  

I can be reached at 

DPhil topic

Chinese long-term economic dynamics have presented an enormous challenge to economic historians. According to the recent debates on the 'Great Divergence' of productivity and living standards between China and Europe, a huge gap had already emerged between the newly rich industrial nations and the Chinese lagging economy in the wake of the Industrial Revolution. Such a gap continued and even grew in the final part of the Qing Empire and the Republican period. With an exceptional growth spurt during the recent period of globalisation since the late 1970s, however, the great divergence separating China from the global leaders substantially diminished. While the key sources of growth remains in dispute, a number of recent papers suggested that such success was largely attributed to the increase of factor inputs, rather than the total factor productivity (TFP) improvement. Notwithstanding, our understanding of the entire history has remained ambiguous on a number of questions: What is the real GDP performance of modern China from a long-term perspective, since its forced opening up in 1840? What are the sources of growth of the Chinese output? To what extent was it always driven by factor inputs? How do the China/UK comparative growth and productivity performances look like? What could be the ultimate as well as the proximate causes of Chinese falling behind and then catching up? This thesis sets out to answer these questions by breaking down aggregate economic performance on a sectoral basis. 

The first chapter intends to construct a database with separate estimates for agriculture, industry and services, as well as the aggregate GDP of China, starting around 1840. Although there are several existing studies of Chinese historical national accounts reconstruction over the period, there are none linking up the long-term Chinese income and productivity from the late Qing Empire period (1840–1911), the Republican period (1912–1949), to the Communist period (1949–). The second chapter will use the growth accounting framework to explore the supply-side sources of Chinese output change. It also helps to answer to what extent the recent success driven by factor inputs has long historical roots, by decomposing the aggregate, as well as sectoral output growth. The third chapter, then, will compare and contrast the growth and productivity experiences between China and the UK, in order to shed light on the causes of the divergence and the recent convergent trend. This long-run comparative study of China also complements the India-UK comparison by Broadberry and Gupta from the late 19th century, giving additional evidence of comparing experience of countries which have remained less developed than that of rich nations, a subject that was under-researched in the current literatures.