Elizabeth Economy

Distinguished Visiting Fellow

Elizabeth Economy is the C. V. Starr senior fellow and director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and a distinguished visiting fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

Dr. Economy is an acclaimed author and expert on Chinese domestic and foreign policy. Her recently released book, The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State, (Oxford University Press, 2018) analyzes the contradictory nature of reform under President Xi Jinping. She is also author of By All Means Necessary: How China's Resource Quest is Changing the World (Oxford University Press, 2014) 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). Dr. Economy has published articles in foreign policy and scholarly journals including Foreign AffairsForeign Policy, and the Harvard Business Review; and op-eds in the New York Times and Washington Post, among others. In June 2018, Dr. Economy was named one of the “10 Names That Matter on China Policy” by Politico Magazine.

Dr. Economy serves on the board of managers of Swarthmore College and the board of trustees of the Asia Foundation and the National Committee on US-China Relations. 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. 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.

Dr. Economy received her BA 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.                                          

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Recent Commentary


Trade: Parade Of Broken Promises

by Elizabeth Economyvia Democracy Journal
Thursday, March 14, 2019
The trade war between the United States and China has not given either side much to cheer about. As of January, Washington has levied 10 percent tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods, and China has reciprocated with similar tariffs on $110 billion in U.S. goods.

What Began as a Very Positive Image-Boosting Initiative: Talking to Elizabeth C. Economy

interview with Elizabeth Economyvia Los Angeles Review of Books
Friday, March 8, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Elizabeth Economy discusses how China has fared on reaching its own official goals (for instance in terms of economic growth, governmental accountability, military power), as well as her new book The Third Revolution: Xi Jinping and the New Chinese State.


Surveillance Special: China’s Economic Slowdown With Elizabeth Economy

interview with Elizabeth Economyvia Bloomberg
Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Elizabeth Economy discusses the third revolution and notes that there's a sense of political malaise in China.

In the News

China Watchers In US Debate ‘Strategic Competitor’ Label Donald Trump Has Pinned On Beijing

quoting Elizabeth Economyvia South China Morning Post
Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Prominent China policy analysts clashed on Tuesday in New York over Washington’s portrayal of the country as a strategic competitor, a designation that has defined US President Donald Trump’s hard-line approach to Beijing since he started a bilateral trade war last year.


Fireside Chat: Elizabeth Economy And Mary Kay Magistad On 'Made In China 2025'

interview with Elizabeth Economyvia Asia Society
Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Elizabeth Economy talks about the US-China relationship. 

In the News

Russia Secretly Offered North Korea A Denuclearization Deal Last Year

quoting Elizabeth Economyvia Citizen Truth
Friday, February 1, 2019

A secret offer between Russia and North Korea is being viewed by analysts as a move by Russia to assert its influence on the world stage.


Elizabeth Economy: The Third Revolution: Xi JinPing and the New Chinese State

interview with Elizabeth Economyvia The Lionel Gelber Prize
Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Elizabeth Economy discusses her book The Third Revolution: Xi JinPing and the New Chinese State.


Elizabeth Economy: Trade War Adding To Mounting Pressures On China's Xi Jinping (1:24)

by Elizabeth Economyvia CNBC
Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Elizabeth Economy breaks down the potential impact of the talks between the United States and China.

Analysis and Commentary

US-China Relations At 40

by Elizabeth Economyvia The Diplomat
Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019 should be a year of celebration; it marks 40 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the United States and China. Bilateral trade and investment between the two countries has grown exponentially from $5 billion in 1980 to $710 billion in 2017; student exchange and tourism numbers have soared; and peace has been maintained in the Asia-Pacific.

Inside Xi Jinping’s Plan to Dominate the World

by Elizabeth Economyvia Bloomberg
Friday, December 28, 2018

Elizabeth Economy’s “The Third Revolution” makes the case that China is most dangerous in the realm of ideas.