Professor Xia Xingyuan

Xia Xingyuan: a diligent pioneer in practice

 Xia Xingyuan, a 83-year-old retired professor in ZEUL, is still concerned about the economic life around him. Today he is still the invited economist of “ Hundreds of Economists Confidence Surveys in China ” of China Economic Monitoring& Analysis Center of the National Bureau of Statistics and gives opinions and suggestions on China’ macroeconomic market and other aspects. In addition, he was also one of the earlier scholars who studied Underground Economics in a systematical way .

Unshaken Faith in Academic Research

Xia Xingyuan had interest in academic research during his undergraduate studies in Zhongnan Institute of Economics. Xia Xingyuan was chosen to work on his master degree in the university after finishing his undergraduate studies in 1956 when ministry of higher education selected some undergraduate universities to cultivate postgraduates in the whole country on the background of “Marching towards Science” encouraged by the state. He worked as a teacher of history of economic theory in the university after graduation. During the time, he systematically dug into British mercantilism, French physiocracy and British classical political economy as well as some works of vulgar school and Keynes.


It was not until in 1979 that Xia Xingyuan really began his academic research. “Our country, at that time, shifted the focus from ‘class struggle’ to ‘economic growth’, which made it possible that I could be absorbed in teaching and research.” he said. And distribution according to work was his earliest study field.


Research on Economic Issues in Life

Xia Xingyuan’ studies in economic field were in line with economic growth tendency of New China. The Third Plenary Session of 12th CPC Central Committee proposed that China should implement reform of economic system and planned commodity economy. “What is commodity economy? What is the implication of commodity economy? What is the difference between commodity economy and ‘commodity production and commodity exchange’ mentioned in the past? What is the point of referring to ‘commodity economy’ now? All these questions need to be demonstrated in theory.” he said. He discussed these questions, studied the economic category of ‘commodity economy’, law of motion, operational mechanism and so on, analyzed the conditions for the existence of commodity economy as well as its position and function in socialist economy and also discussed the connection between China’s ‘commodity economy’ and world market, etc.


There was imbalance between social supplies and social demand in China’s economy and “buying spree” in society in 1988. “How to regulate and control social supplies and social demand through a series of macroeconomic policies in this case to curb inflation and rising prices but not to destroy microeconomics, which was an important subject.” He told the reporter that they studied the issue in a systematical way and conducted research on related enterprises, market, fiscal and financial departments, business management and other departments.

Xia Xingyuan has in-depth studies on the goals, means and methods, policy instruments, connections between direct regulations and indirect regulations of macroeconomic regulations and transformation of both macroeconomic regulations and government economic function and other problems in view of China’s emphasis on strengthening and improving macroeconomic control in the 21st century. He wrote a book named Macroeconomic Control Compendium on that basis.

Afterwards,considering the practical needs of building socialist economy, Xia Xingyuan studied socialist distribution according to work, socialist economic benefits, socialist commodity economy, socialist macro-control, socialist reform of state-owned enterprises and underground economy.


The Pioneer of Researching “Underground Economy”

Economic growth has given rise to the spread of smuggling, counterfeit, usury and other problems after reform and opening up. “It is hard to grasp the operation of social economy if we neglect these economic activities which have a great impact on resource allocation, income distribution, currency circulation, market order and other economic activities as well as social climate.” Xia Xingyuan said, they were labeled as “underground economy” in view of their evasion of supervision and management of government.


He carried out related studies after successfully applying for the research project of National Social Sciences Fund with a paper entitled Research on China’s Underground Economy in1990. The research group members conducted research in Shenzhen, Hainan, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Wenzhou and other areas for this project and collected an enormous amount of information from customs, public security, business administration and other departments.


Underground economy, which is not the special situation of any country, is very easy to breed during economic transition for seeking economic interests and evading state supervision. He combined the analytical methods of traditional economics with the analytical methods that of ethical economics, institutional economics and game theory, treated underground economy as a kind of economic behavior of economic men, discussed underground economic behavior during the exchange of different economic entities and put forward the treatment methods for underground economic behavior of different economic entities.  


Xia Xingyuan and his group members, based on the in-depth research, wrote Research on China’s Underground Economy, An Introduction to Underground Economics, Underground Economy Series and other books, among which Research on China’s Underground Economy won the second prize of excellent achievements in humanities and social sciences of national universities.

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