Tuesday, June 29, 2021

A decade of development and contribution of AAEA China Section

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the China Section last year, an article was published in China Agricultural Economics Review to report the section’s history, growth, contribution and outlook (Wang, 2021).  We would like to share its main points with AAEA members here.

China Section was founded in 2009 as the first AAEA section focusing on issues related to a particular country. There were 86 founding members, mostly from US universities and USDA. China’s amazing economic development the 1990s and early 2000s caught scholars’ attention worldwide then on its agricultural development, its food and fiber markets, and its trade policy. These issues were especially important to the US, and a cohort of AAEA scholars had been mobilized to study for years, whom formed the core of this section then.

The section is intended to facilitate collaboration, mentor junior AAEA members, and bridge between AAEA and other professional organizations worldwide on agricultural and economics issues related to China. Over the first ten years, its paid membership increased to 134. The growth was mainly driven by new members from outside the U.S., especially China where the membership quintupled.  A separately maintained Chinese social media group has over 700 subscribers, many are past section members.  Graduate student membership also grew from about 15% to almost 50%, showing the attractiveness to junior professionals.  China section’s AAEA organized paper session quota grew from two to three based on its membership. Still, over 150 submitted abstracts competed for the limited slots in recent years.

Scholars from the China Section have actively engaged in research on important and timely issues with impactful outcomes. Recent years have observed trade conflicts between U.S. and China, especially in the agricultural sector. In response, section members published multiple themed symposia in Choices, provided expert testimonies to the U.S. Congress, and organized a well-attended post-conference at 2019 AAEA Annual Meetings.  Chinese agricultural economic development also provides experience to the world, such as its advanced grocery online market and restaurant delivery system. Two journal special issues focusing on China topics were organized by recent section leaders, Agribusiness (2020) and China Agricultural Economics Review (2021). The Section has made continuous contribution to the AAEA, the profession, and the public.

China section has diverse members in gender, race, country of origin, seniority, and sub-discipline in applied economics. It has experienced a steady growth since its inception owning to the support from AAEA presidents, executives board, sister sections, senior mentors, and peer members as well as our external sponsors and supporters. The current leaders and members are inspired to continue the legacy and bring the Section to the next level.


Wang, H. H. 2021 Editorial: China Section in Agricultural and Applied Economic Association: History, Growth, Contribution and Outlook. 13 (2), 249-259. DOI:10.1108/CAER-05-2021-263

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