Elizabeth Economy

Senior Fellow

Elizabeth Economy is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and a senior fellow for China studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, where she previously served as the C.V. Starr senior fellow and director for Asia Studies for over a decade. Economy is currently on leave serving as a senior foreign advisor in the Department of Commerce for the current administration.

Economy is an acclaimed author and expert on Chinese domestic and foreign policy. Her most recent book, The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State, (Oxford University Press, 2018; Thai edition, 2018; Chinese (Taiwan) edition, 2019) was shortlisted for the Lionel Gelber Prize, a prestigious literary award for foreign affairs books. She is also author of By All Means Necessary: How China's Resource Quest is Changing the World (Oxford University Press, 2014; Vietnamese, 2019) with Michael Levi, and The River Runs Black: The Environmental Challenge to China's Future (Cornell University Press, 2004; 2nd edition, 2010; Japanese edition, 2005; Chinese edition, 2011). The River Runs Black was named one of the top 50 sustainability books in 2008 by the University of Cambridge, won the 2005 International Convention on Asia Scholars Award for the best social sciences book published on Asia, and was listed as one of the top ten books of 2004 by the Globalist as well as one of the best business books of 2010 by Booz Allen Hamilton's strategy+business magazine. She also coedited China Joins the World: Progress and Prospects (Council on Foreign Relations Press, with Michel Oksenberg, 1999) and The Internationalization of Environmental Protection (Cambridge University Press, with Miranda Schreurs, 1997). She has published articles in foreign policy and scholarly journals including Foreign Affairs, Harvard Business Review, and Foreign Policy, and op-eds in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, among others. Economy is a frequent guest on nationally broadcast television and radio programs, has testified before Congress on numerous occasions, and regularly consults for U.S. government agencies and companies. She writes about topics involving China on CFR's Asia Program blog, Asia Unbound, which is syndicated by Forbes.com. In June 2018, Economy was named one of the "10 Names That Matter on China Policy" by Politico Magazine.

Economy serves on the board of managers of Swarthmore College and the board of trustees of the Asia Foundation and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations. She is a member of the Aspen Strategy Group. She was also on the advisory council of Network 20/20 and the science advisory council of the Stockholm Environment Forum. She served as a member of the World Economic Forum (WEF)’s Global Agenda Council on the United States from 2014 to 2016 and served as a member and then vice chair of WEF’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of China from 2008 to 2014. Economy also served on the board of the China-U.S. Center for Sustainable Development. She has taught undergraduate and graduate level courses at Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, and the University of Washington's Jackson School of International Studies.

Economy received her BA with honors from Swarthmore College, her AM from Stanford University, and her PhD from the University of Michigan. In 2008, she received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Vermont Law School. She lives in New York City with her husband and three children.

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Recent Commentary

Policy StoriesFeatured

America’s New Great-Power Competition With China

by Elizabeth Economyvia PolicyEd
Thursday, September 2, 2021

The response of the United States to China’s growing global power will profoundly affect the trajectory of the 21st century.

Policy BriefsFeatured

Elizabeth Economy Expounds On U.S. Foreign Policy Relations With China

by Elizabeth Economyvia PolicyEd
Thursday, July 15, 2021

Elizabeth Economy explains how a shift in understanding China’s intentions and capabilities has led to a rethink and a reset of American foreign policy.

The High Road

by Elizabeth Economyvia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, July 14, 2021

The US-China rivalry represents, above all, a difference in values. The United States’ strength springs from its support for an open, multilateral world order.

In the News

At 100, China's Communist Party Looks To Cement Its Future

quoting Elizabeth Economyvia Money Control
Thursday, July 1, 2021

Marking its centenary, the Communist Party is using this past — selectively — to try to ensure its future and that of Xi Jinping, who may be eyeing, as Mao Zedong did, ruling for life.


Elizabeth Economy: On GPS: How China Views The Future

interview with Elizabeth Economyvia CNN
Monday, June 28, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Elizabeth Economy discusses what lies ahead for China as it celebrates the one hundredth anniversary of its ruling party.


Policy Series 2021-39: Reclaiming America And Its Place In The World

by Elizabeth Economyvia The International Security Studies Forum
Wednesday, June 16, 2021

In his video address before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2020, President Donald Trump summed up his views on the COVID-19 pandemic: the world must hold China accountable for covering up the virulence of the virus; the United States had effectively mobilized its resources to meet the challenge; and the world’s leaders should follow the example of the United States by putting their own citizens first and rejecting the pursuit of “global ambitions.”


China's Climate Strategy

by Elizabeth Economyvia China Leadership Monitor
Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Chinese president Xi Jinping has put forth a set of significant commitments in response to the threat of global climate change. He has called for China to achieve peak CO2 emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060, to enhance the role of renewable energy in its energy mix, to increase forest cover, and to make use of market mechanisms, such as an emissions trading system, to incentivize industry to decarbonize. 


China’s Inconvenient Truth

by Elizabeth Economyvia Foreign Affairs
Friday, May 28, 2021

Xi Jinping is in a race against time. The glow of China’s early economic rebound and containment of COVID-19 is fading. The international media have moved on to celebrate vaccine efficacy and vaccination rates elsewhere, and other economies have started posting solid growth rates. Yet President Xi continues to advance a narrative of Chinese exceptionalism and superiority.

The Human Prosperity ProjectVideosFeatured

The China Model: Not One To Emulate

by Elizabeth Economyvia PolicyEd
Thursday, May 13, 2021

Though the Chinese model of governance is appealing to many authoritarian leaders, its absence of democratic norms and institutions encourages corruption and constrains healthy economic growth.


Elizabeth Economy: The UK’s Security And Trade Relationship With China

interview with Elizabeth Economyvia United Kingdom Parliament
Monday, April 26, 2021

Hoover Institution fellow Elizabeth Economy discusses the UK's security and trade relationships with China.