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Professor Gregory Chow: Econometrician o XMU o Chow Test

XMUICE    Public:ICE    Datetime:2010-12-23
Professor Chow says, "It is better to influence the thinking of others to secure an official position"


Professor Gregory Chow, is an academic advisor and visiting professor at the Xiamen University Wang Yanan Institute for Studies in Economics (WISE). He has been a frequent visitor to the university Xiamen University to take part in conferences, to teach on short-courses, and to carry out joint research projects.
Professor Chow was born in Guangdong Province in 1929. He has an international reputation as an econometrician internationally for his "Chow Test", methods for the analysis and control of dynamic economic systems, and is as a pioneer in studying the function of demand for durable goods. A leading figure in the fields of econometrics and practical economics, he is also one of the overseas scholars who is involved in the process of China´s economic reform and research into the problems in China´s economy.

Professor Chow is devoted to the modernisation of the teaching of economics in China, and is well-known as the driving force behind the introduction of "Modern Economics" and the reform of economics education in China. To this end, he set up the "Gregory Chow Project" to seek out outstanding science and engineering students at China´s universities to study economics in the US. He also set up the "Gregory Chow Fund" under the Chinese Economist Society to fund overseas economists to come and teach at China´s universities, as a way of integrating economics teaching in China with that of the rest of the world. The fund has been very successful in introducing modern economics teaching to China and pushing forward the development of economics teaching in China.

80th Birthday o 25th Anniversary

The 80th birthday of Professor Chow and the 25th anniversary of the Chinese Economist Society have both happened to fall in 2010. As a way of expressing their gratitude to Professor Chow for his contribution to economics teaching in China and support for the CES, WISE and the Xiamen University School of Economics, the university held a China´s Economics Education and Research Forum as a special celebration.
At the Forum, Professor Chow gave a paper on the subject of Research and Direction of China´s Economics Education. The paper covered two issues: how to bring American knowledge of economics to China; and how to spread China´s knowledge of economics to the rest of the world. Professor Chow said that research into economics in America was gradually moving away from concern current global economic problems towards a more theoretical direction. Professor Chow said that China should take a dialectical attitude toward this trend. China had made a considerable effort to introduce economics knowledge from America, through the establishment of colleges and institutes. Nevertheless, China should to create its own initiative and appreciate the comparative advantages of China´s achievements in economics instead of simply treading in the path of economics research in America. China was currently enjoying a golden age in terms of the fastest economic growth in the world. We should take full advantage of this and establish constructive research projects tackled from a problem-based point of view. Professor Chow finished by expressing the belief that China´s outstanding economists were bound to make major innovations in the field, since the rapid development of China´s economy was creating a favourable environment for them.

Short course teaching

As an academic advisor and visiting professor of WISE, Professor Chow has come to Xiamen University many times to teach on short courses and to take part in conferences. In fact, this interview was recorded while Professor Chow was here giving a course on Research on the Frontier Problems of China´s Economics to staff and students of Xiamen University. He used his extensive knowledge of econometrics and profound awareness of China´s history, culture, economy, science, and technology to give a comprehensive, in-depth analysis and explanation of many of China´s economic problems. His audience always packed the lecture hall. Attendees commented, "Professor Chow´s course offers a large number of new methods and angles from which to study the problems of China´s economy. and inspires us by presenting many problems that need further and closer study. He does not merely take us to the water; rather, he helps us to drink. We benefit enormously from his courses."
Professor Chow also writes a column for China Business News. Some of his articles, written directly in English, have needed to be translated into Chinese, for which many master´s and doctoral students at WISE have been eager to offer their services. This is one an extremely good way to raise the enthusiasm of economics students towards their studies, and help them understand and get to grips with Professor Chow´s teaching. Many students find that they are confused about the subject after reading all their textbooks on economics. However, Professor Chow´s courses provide many deep insights and encouragement to both the staff and students at WISE who have experienced his input and support for the teaching and research of the Institute.

Study of Econometrics in America: the Chow Test

In 1948, Professor Chow entered Cornell University to study politics at his family´s wish. While there, he heard of the wonderful economics courses of Professor Alfred Kahn, and so switched to economics in his third year and discovered his interest in econometrics. In 1951, Professor Chow studied for his doctorate in the University of Chicago, a leading institution globally in economics and econometrics. His doctoral supervisor was Professor Milton Friedman, recognised as one of the most outstanding theoretical economists in America along with Paul Samuelson and Kenneth Arrow. The three exerted a great influence on Professor Chow´s life and studies. He absorbed their ideas and their ways of thinking and discussing problems and benefited greatly from many lectures and seminars.
After completing his doctorate, Professor Chow was recommended for a teaching post at MIT. From 1959, he spent three years teaching and carrying out research in econometrics and economic trends. In 1970, Professor Chow moved to Princeton University where he remained until his retirement in 2001. During this time, he contributed greatly to many aspects of economics, publishing 12 books and over 180 papers. He proposed his famous "Chow Test", in the 1960s, together with the use of spectrum analysis and methods for the analysis and control of dynamic economic systems. Furthermore, the econometrics research project at Princeton University was named after Professor Chow. In view of such achievements Professor Chow is a leading light around the world in the field of econometrics.

Founder of education in modern economics

In the 1970s, mainland China launched the reform and opening up policy. At that time, Professor Chow was invited by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences to teach a lecture, held in the Summer Palace, on basic econometrics, control theory and the demand relationship in terms of motorcars. This was Professor Chow´s first return to mainland China after leaving 32 years earlier to pursue his studies in America. Before his appointment as economic advisor to the Chinese government, Professor Chow had already developed a deep understanding of economic development in Asia, and had followed the development of Taiwan´s economy. As a result, he was fully aware of the practical problems facing mainland China. Professor Chow believed that market economics should be given a significant role in the economic development of mainland China, and that enterprises should be autonomous in their management. Professor Chow then continued to research into China´s economy, publishing his research results in a succession of books. In 1982 he gave his second lecture in mainland China, in which for the first time he used the term "modern economics" rather than "western economics". He began work in December that year on a book titled The Chinese Economy, to develop further his understanding of the economic problems of China and to introduce modern economics to Chinese students.
In 1984, Professor Chow put forward a suggestion concerning the selection of graduates in science and engineering to pursue postgraduate studies in economics in America with the support of the Ministry of Education. The students, chosen to study abroad under the "Gregory Chow Project" over the past 25 years, have all become well-known scholars and specialists in economics. They are the mainstay of China´s economic development and education in modern economics, some of them following in the footsteps of Professor Chow in pushing forward the development of education in modern economics in China, and dedicating themselves to the training of experts in economics for China. The "Gregory Chow Project" is considered to be a milestone in the history of education in modern economics in China, and is held in equal esteem as the "Chow Test" by those in education in modern economics.
When Professor Chow talks about the development of modern economics in China, he contends that China still needs more teachers of great ability. He will continue to co-operate with China´s scholars in economics and government officials in order to promote the development of education in economics here, seeing it as a long-standing principle of mutual benefit. Professor Chow has always followed closely the development of mainland China and of Taiwan. He says, "I feel as if I have never left China throughout my whole life."

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