Skip to content Skip to navigation

Public Policy Students Travel to China on a Journey of Inquiry

group of people at the great wall of china
May 16 2017

By Elizabeth Bernal

Over spring break, students from Public Policy 268, “Global Organizations,” along with Professor Eva Meyersson Milgrom traveled to China to meet with officials from the public and private sector for a dive into the Chinese financial regulatory system.  Throughout winter quarter, the students studied organizational theory and how to design optimal organizations based on factors such as people, architecture, routines, and culture.

Guiding the trip was a central research question with timely importance for China’s financial system--should macroprudential and monetary policy be housed under one organization or separated into differing governing bodies?  As China is expected to unveil reforms to the regulatory system by this summer, this same question is on the minds of the key players in both the public and private sector.

The students arrived in Beijing to meet with officials at regulatory agencies, banks, academics at Peking University and the Guanghua School of Management, and the Central Bank, as well as academics at the Guanghua School of Management and Yenchin Academy of Peking University and Tsinghua University.  Representatives from each body were happy to share their thoughts on the financial system at large, but far more guarded when it came to the question of the organization of prudential and monetary policy. It was this hesitation that alerted the class to the political relevance of their research question.

After visiting Beijing, the class traveled to Chengdu and Shenzhen to meet with the provincial counterparts of the regulatory agencies to hear their insights from a less centralized level. Along with these government officials, students met with local banks, firms, and officials at the Shenzhen stock exchange.

On the last day of the trip, each student synthesized their findings into an opinion editorial piece to answer the initial research question. Unsurprisingly, all op-eds were unique in their attempt to answer the question, as the students all came from differing backgrounds.

In addition to research, the class was fortunate enough to participate in cultural activities throughout the country, including a trips to the Great Wall, Tiananmen Square, the Chengdu Panda Breeding Center, and Hong Kong. Not only were these trips a fun break from meetings, but they also served as a critical part of the research experience. They provided insight into Chinese culture--a crucial factor that influences organizational design, business conduct, and governance and policy structure.

To read op-eds written by the Public Policy students, click here.


Student Voices