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CFP: Special issue on “The economics of wellbeing in China”

Call for papers – Special issue in Social Indicators Research
The economics of wellbeing in China

Guest editors

China is currently the second largest economy in the world. Many, relatively unique, socioeconomic and behavioural phenomena exist in China. Studying these phenomena will not only deepen our understanding of the Chinese economy and Chinese society, but will also provide new insights about how China, and her residents, are shaped by, adapt to, and transform social and economic forces. The different socioeconomic and institutional context of China vis-à-vis that of the West provides opportunities for evaluating, extending, and creating theories of wellbeing.

With this Special Issue we seek to expand our knowledge of wellbeing in China. Submissions should address the broad area of wellbeing through adopting a methodological approach grounded in economics or an allied discipline. Submissions that are interdisciplinary in that they draw on behavioural insights from economics and other disciplines or adopt approaches that inform economics using insights from other disciplines are particularly welcome.

We interpret economics broadly in this context to mean methodological approaches used in economics and allied disciplines and empirical approaches/methods typically employed by economists and researchers in allied disciplines. It would be ideal if we could pull together a group of papers in which traditional methods used in economics were informed by other disciplinary approaches or the papers showed how economics could improve methodological approaches in other areas. An example of the former might be how the use of multi-item indicators can provide insights over and above single item indicators of wellbeing, typically used by economists. An example of the latter might be how causation can be established with observational data on subjective wellbeing using instrumental variables, regression discontinuity, difference-in-difference or propensity score matching. These methods are commonly used in economics, but are relatively less used in some other social sciences. These issues could be illustrated using Chinese applications.

We are particularly interested in studies that:

  1. Explore the psychometric properties of established measures of subjective wellbeing in China and their determinants or re-examine issues previously explored by economists using psychometrically validated measures of wellbeing
  2. Use experimental methods and/or statistical approaches to address the causal relations between wellbeing and other variables
  3. Examine wellbeing in the workforce and its relationship with organisational or societal outcomes
  4. Develop new theory to understand wellbeing in the Chinese context
  5. Examine issues with strong policy relevance such as urbanization, ageing, rural-urban migration, hukou reform, China’s one-child policy, education or other aspects of social and economic changes
  6. Examine the socioeconomic integration of marginalised groups in Chinese society such as ethnic minorities, the urban poor or rural-urban migrants
  7. Provide insights into growing urban income inequality or consumerism in China
  8. Examine aspects of wellbeing of overseas Chinese in regions such as Africa and Europe and, in particular, address issues of integration for these groups with host communitiesHowever, submissions are by no means limited to these topics.While we welcome both theoretical and empirical studies and, in particular, studies that extend theory through application to Chinese phenomena, studies must have application or potential application to improving our understanding of wellbeing in China. Purely technical modelling or survey papers will not be appropriate.We welcome empirical papers that use a range of different data sources.  These include studies that:
  1. Utilize data collected in fieldwork
  2. Use lab and field experiments, including natural experiments
  3. Utilize newly available (panel) data such as the China Family Panel Studies, China Household Finance Survey, Rural-Urban Migrants in China or the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Survey

Submission Process and Deadline

All submissions will be subject to normal double-blind peer reviews and editorial process in accordance with the policies of Social Indicators Research. Papers submitted to the special issue will be first reviewed by the guest editors and a decision will be made concerning which papers best contribute to the Special Issue.


Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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