The Chinese Economists Society (initially named “The Chinese Young Economists Society”) was founded on May 26th 1985 in New York City by a group of Chinese graduate students and scholars studying economics and business administration in the United States and Canada. It is based and registered in the United States as a non-profit academic organization. Since its founding, the CES has evolved into an international professional society for Chinese scholars of economics and all those who are interested in studies of the Chinese economy.
To promote scholarly exchanges among its members, the Society holds the CES Annual Conference, with its first held in Princeton, N.J. in 1985. It launched its English-language journal China Economic Review (CER) in 1989. Just in a few years the journal achieved worldwide circulation and became a highly influential academic periodical on the Chinese economy. CES became a member of the Allied Social Science Association (ASSA) in 1992 and has sponsored independent and joint sessions with other associations at annual ASSA meetings ever since.
In order to promote market-based economic reforms in China, the Society has since 1993 organized its Annual Conference every year in China, often jointly hosted by a Chinese university. The CES conferences have been widely attended by internationally renowned economists, senior government officials and business leaders and have had profound policy impacts on China’s market-oriented transition and reforms as well as economic development strategy. Many of the papers presented at these conferences have been published in special issues of professional economics journals and in dozens of academic volumes by internationally esteemed publishers. Every year since 2005, two outstanding papers presented at the CES annual conference are selected to receive the Gregory Chow Best Paper Award.
The CES has endeavored to make contributions to the advancement and dissemination of economics and management sciences in China. In the early 1990s, it mobilized its members to write s a 14-volume Market Economics Book Series (1993), a three-volume Frontiers of Modern Economics (1989, 1993, 1998), and a 12-volume Modern Business Administration Book Series (1995) in Chinese. These publications pioneered the introduction of modern economics and managerial science to the Chinese readers. The Society has also had dozens of its conference proceedings, research reports, and collections of papers published in China.
Since 1990, the CES has run short-term teaching programs every year to support its overseas members to teach economic courses in Chinese universities. The programs were first funded by Ford Foundation and later have been sponsored by Gregory Chow Foundation.
Apart from its annual conferences, the CES has also held ad hoc forums, symposia, conferences in North America and China on various themes. Over years, the Society has organized field studies in various places of mainland China and research trips to other parts of the world, including Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Russia, East Europe, etc. These activities have not only facilitated academic exchanges between its members and scholars all over the world but also led to the publication of many academic works.
So far, over 2,700 people have been or used to be CES individual members. Hundreds are active members and dozens of new members join the society every year. The Society also has dozens of institutional members, most of which are universities in China.
Since the turn of the century, the CES has become an important platform for Chinese universities and institutions to recruit economists from North America. Every year through the CES-organized events and membership networking, many young economists are recruited and employed by universities and institutions in China.
Many CES members have returned to China and developed distinguished careers there after years of experience studying and working overseas. A number of the Society’s founding members or former officials now hold top positions in China’s government departments including the central bank, financial regulatory administrations, and think tanks as well as leading Chinese universities, transnational corporations, and international agencies such as the World Bank and IMF. Many others who have returned to China are playing leading roles in various sectors.
From the date of its founding, the CES has operated on democratic principles of free election and check-and-balance. It holds annual elections to let its members choose a President-elect and the Board of Directors for a one-year term to manage the Society. Since 1999, the election has been conducted online. A Finance Committee was set up in 2003 to supervise financial affairs of the Society, enforce accounting regulations, and manage the Society assets. The CES Academic Publication Council was set up in 2006 to initiate and execute policies governing the Society’s academic publications. Since 2007, a decision-making governing body, the CES Regents, has been set up to oversee matters affecting the growth and future of the CES.