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Author: Yongqin Guo
In this volume Guo Yongqin provides an overview of the most important taxes, land and labor tax, in Imperial Qing China (1644-1912). The previously unpublished fiscal sources presented in this volume give a tremendous amount of information about Qing society and economy, like the bureaucratic system, political institutions, economic inequality, and environmental conditions. The data is accompanied by a detailed introduction, offering a valuable resource for further research on how the standardized tax system performed and affected the Qing regime.
Author: Yingwei Huang
The Chinese work point system was a series of labor organization rules and regulations used for the calculation of the amount and quality of labor and for determining the form of labor organization. The history of the work point system is thus the history of China’s agricultural collectivization. In this book we analyse how these work points were allotted, how they provided, or impaired, labor incentives, and if they leave open the possibility for income mobility.
Economic Thought and Practice in Early China
Ancient Chinese economic thought has never been related to the evidence of economic practice. We know how state economies were supposed to be run in theory, but not the degree to which economic thought reflected everyday economic activity. Moreover, it is still not clear to what extent economic thought constituted a separate field of inquiry and was independent of fundamental cultural notions or political considerations. Finally, why was there so much more sustained interest in political economy in China than anywhere else? This book sets out to consider such questions through contextualised analyses of both received and newly excavated sources on economic thought and practice.

Contributors are Paul R. Goldin, Yohei Kakinuma, Maxim Korolkov, Elisa Levi Sabattini, Andrew Meyer, Yuri Pines, Christian Schwermann, Hans van Ess, and Robin D.S. Yates
A Study of 11th to 13th Century Tangut Records
Author: Jinbo Shi
Editor / Translator: Hansong Li
This is the first introduction to the economic history of the Tangut Empire (1038-1227). Built on a wealth of economic data and evidence, it studies the economic lives and activities, laws and institutions, trade and transactions in the “Great State White and High”. It interprets primary sources written in the mysterious Tangut cursive script: taxes, registers, and contracts, alongside archives, chronicles, and law codes. By weaving Song, Liao, and Jin materials with Khara-Khoto, Wuwei, and Dunhuang manuscripts into a historical narrative, the book offers a gateway to the outer shape and inner life of the Western Xia (Xixia) economy and society, and rethinks the Tanguts’ influence on the Hexi Corridor and the Silk Road.
Author: Nanny Kim
The commercialized economy of late imperial China depended on efficient transport, yet transport technologies, transport economics as well as its role in local societies and in interdependencies of environments and human activities are acutely under-researched. Nanny Kim analyses two transports systems into the Southwest of Qing China through the long eighteenth century and up to the mid-nineteenth century civil wars. The case studies explore shipping on the Upper Changjiang in Sichuan and through the Three Gorges into Hubei, and road transport out of the Sichuan Basin across northeastern Yunnan and northwestern Guizhou into central Yunnan. Specific and concrete investigations of a river that presented extreme dangers to navigation and carriage across the crunch zone of the Himalayan Plateau provides a basis for a systematic reconstruction of transport outside the lowland centres and their convenient networks of water transport.
In a new study of the Qing government’s 1826 experiment in sea transport of government grain in response to the collapse of the Grand Canal (1825), Jane Kate Leonard highlights how the Daoguang Emperor, together with Yinghe, his chief fiscal adviser, and Qishan, Governor-General of Liangjiang, devised and implemented this innovative plan by temporarily stretching the Qing bureaucracy to include local “assistant” officials and ad hoc bureaus ( ju) and by recruiting ( zhaoshang) private organizations, such as merchant shippers, dockside porters, and lighterage fleets. This is significant because it explains how the Qing leadership was able to respond successfully to crises and change without permanently expanding the reach and expense of the permanent bureaucracy.
Bureaucrats, Merchants, Artisans, and Mining Laborers in Qing China, ca. 1680s–1830s
Author: Hailian Chen
Hailian Chen’s pioneering study presents the first comprehensive history of Chinese zinc—an essential base metal used to produce brass and coin and a global commodity—over the long eighteenth century. Zinc, she argues, played a far greater role in the Qing economy and in integrating China into an emerging global economy, than has previously been recognized. Using commodity chain analysis and exploring over 5,800 items of archival documents, Chen demonstrates how this metal was produced, transported, traded, and consumed by human agents. Situating the zinc story within the human-environment framework, this book covers a broad and interdisciplinary range of political economy, material culture, environment, technology, and society, which casts new light on our understanding of early modern China.
Volume Editors: Ulrich Theobald and Jin Cao
The book Southwest China in Regional and Global Perspectives (c. 1600-1911) is dedicated to important issues in society, trade, and local policy in the southwestern provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou and Sichuan during the late phase of the Qing period. It combines the methods of various disciplines to bring more light into the neglected history of a region that witnessed a faster population growth than any other region in China during that age. The contributions to the volume analyse conflicts and arrangements in immigrant societies, problems of environmental change, the economic significance of copper as the most important “export” product, topographical and legal obstacles in trade and transport, specific problems in inter-regional trade, and the roots of modern transnational enterprise.
Nagasaki and the Asian Bullion Trade Networks
In World Trade Systems of the East and West, Geoffrey C. Gunn profiles Nagasaki's historic role in mediating the Japanese bullion trade, especially silver exchanged against Chinese and Vietnamese silk. Founded in 1571 as the terminal port of the Portuguese Macau ships, Nagasaki served as Japan's window to the world over long time and with the East-West trade carried on by the Dutch and, with even more vigor, by the Chinese junk trade. While the final expulsion of the Portuguese in 1646 characteristically defines the “closed” period of early modern Japanese history, the real trade seclusion policy, this work argues, only came into place one century later when the Shogunate firmly grasped the true impact of the bullion trade upon the national economy.
Author: Zhihong Shi
In Agricultural Development in Qing China: A Quantitative Study, 1661-1911 SHI Zhihong offers for the first time an overview of agricultural development in Qing China in the English language. Being by far the largest sector in one of the largest economies in the world, understanding its development is crucial not only for agricultural studies, but also to advance economic debates such as on the Great Divergence.
Combining the recent quantitative paradigm with the more traditional scholarly approach, this book uses a great number of primary sources to arrive at new and revised estimates of crucial indicators such as land acreage, crop yield, pasture, and total output. Its main conclusion is that a serious economic and social problem occurred since the mid-Qing, where agriculture was increasingly less able to feed a growing population, which was a major factor contributing to the growing crisis in the rule of the dynasty.