How worrying is the rapid rise of Chinese science?

The Economist this week asks: “How worrying is the rapid rise of Chinese science?” In a related academic article in the China Economic Review, the rise of China in economics research was analyzed:

Matloob Piracha, Massimiliano Tani, Klaus F. Zimmermann and Yu Zhang.
“Higher Education Expansion and the Rise of China in Economics Research”.
China Economic Review 74 (2022) 101813. OPEN ACCESS:


China has seen a massive higher education expansion, which the literature has dated to the 1999–2008 period with quantitative and qualitative outcomes. However, the consequences for the publication success of Chinese authors worldwide are not well studied. We review the respective Chinese higher education policies and document the dramatic rise in publication success, with a focus on the field of Economics. A substantial set of regressions and robustness checks confirm the understanding that the higher education expansion has indeed let to a substantial worldwide rise in scientific publications in refereed economics journals fueled by the general incentives of the reform, through research collaborations and other quality improving factors.

Fig. 2. Ratio of Chinese to non-Chinese authored articles in top 5, 10 and 20 Economics journals from 1990 to 2017. Source: Piracha et al. (2022).

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