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Alternative Regime without Alternative Institutions: Capital Markets, Insolvency, and Resilient State Capitalism in China

September 18, 2023 @ 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm


Ever since China became a power player in global markets, academics have predicted a number of factors that would bring down the Chinese economy, ranging from WTO accession and insecure property rights in earlier years to shadow banking, real estate bubbles, and natural disasters more recently. Thus far, all of these risk factors have materialized, but none of them have triggered a crisis in China’s economy.  Why not?   Professor Chen analyses China’s resilient state capitalism from the perspective of risk-sharing. As he argues, Western legal institutions, including capital markets and insolvency systems, have helped boost the risk-sharing capacity of the Chinese economy and thus incentivized risk-taking behavior.  China’s grand financial strategy—RMB internationalization and the development of alternative interbank currency clearing systems—models U.S. institutions and follows a similar risk-sharing mentality. However, the functionalities of these institutions have been reconfigured to serve the interests of the party state for the sake of pursuing political and economic objectives. In this way, China’s state capitalism has indeed led to an alternative regime type, but without devising new institutions.


Professor Chen will discuss ways in which China has been using insolvency and corporate laws, RMB internationalization, the rules of international capital markets to distribute various institutional risks widely, thereby creating its resilient authoritarianism and state capitalism.


Weitseng Chen specializes in comparative Asian law—particularly within greater China area, with an emphasis on law and development, property law and financial institutions. He received his JSD from Yale Law School where he was a Fulbright scholar. Thereafter, he worked for Stanford University as a Hewlett Fellow of the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL). Immediately before he joined NUS Faculty of Law, Weitseng Chen worked as a corporate lawyer at Davis Polk & Wardwell.


Weitseng’s recent research focuses on authoritarian legality, property rights transition in greater China, and Asian law & development. He has published the books entitled “Authoritarian Legality in Asia: Formation, Development and Transition”(Cambridge University Press, 2020) and “The Beijing Consensus? How China has Changed the Western Ideas of Law and Economic Development” (Cambridge University Press, 2017). His other published articles can be found in the American Journal of Comparative Law, Journal of International Economic Law, Washington International Law Journal, Chicago Journal of International Law, Columbia Journal of Asian Law, and Australian Journal of Asian Law etc.


Weitseng Chen has also held visiting academic appointments at Harvard Law School, Melbourne Law School, University of Tokyo, Seoul National University, University of Washington, University of British Columbia, Academia Sinica Institutum Iurisprudentiae, National Taiwan University, National Chengchi University and FGV DIREITO SP Law School (Brazil). He is also a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Berlin (Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, 2021-22).


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September 18, 2023
12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
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Deb Colloquium Room
333 Golden Gate
San Francisco, CA United States
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