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

Elizabeth Economy: COVID-19 and China

interview with Elizabeth Economyvia Hoover Virtual Policy Briefings
Tuesday, May 26, 2020

A Hoover Virtual Policy Briefing with Elizabeth Economy: COVID-19 and China
Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 11AM PT/ 2PM ET.

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Elizabeth Economy: After COVID-19: China's Role In The World And U.S.-China Relations

interview with Elizabeth Economyvia Council on Foreign Relations
Monday, April 20, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Elizabeth Economy discusses China and the US-China relationship in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Elizabeth Economy: How China Could Use This Moment To Charge Ahead With Its Geopolitical Agenda

interview with Elizabeth Economyvia CNBC
Friday, April 10, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Elizabeth Economy sees China forging ahead with its national development goals long laid out before the virus.


Elizabeth Economy: Fred Hochberg On The U.S.-China Trade Deal And U.S. Trade Policy

interview with Elizabeth Economyvia Council on Foreign Relations
Monday, February 24, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Elizabeth Economy discusses some common misunderstandings surrounding trade deals as well as what the United States’ trade policy might be with China. Economy also talks about how the upcoming presidential election might affect US trade policy.

Analysis and CommentaryNational SecurityBlank Section (Placeholder)Related Commentary

The Coronavirus Is A Stress Test For Xi Jinping

by Elizabeth Economyvia Foreign Affairs
Monday, February 10, 2020

[Subscription Required] On February 4, Cui Tiankai, China’s ambassador to the United States, prepared to address an audience of students, scholars, and businesspeople in San Diego, California. Before the ambassador could speak, a young Chinese man stood up and yelled, “Xi Jinping, step down!” Security quickly whisked the man away, and the event went on.


Elizabeth Economy: Coronavirus Latest: How China Is Responding To The Spreading Outbreak

interview with Elizabeth Economyvia WBUR
Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Elizabeth Economy discusses China's response to the spreading outbreak of coronavirus.


Elizabeth Economy: Yanzhong Huang On The Wuhan Coronavirus And China's Disease Control System

interview with Elizabeth Economyvia Council on Foreign Relations
Friday, January 24, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Elizabeth Economy discusses the coronavirus, its cause, the Chinese government’s response, and potential areas for international collaboration.


Elizabeth Economy: The Third Revolution

interview with Elizabeth Economyvia New Books Network
Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Elizabeth Economy discusses navigating the US-China relationship including trade issues, which have implications for the global economy.

Globe turned to South America

Elizabeth Economy: Making Sense Of China's Role In Latin America

interview with Elizabeth Economyvia Yahoo Finance
Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Elizabeth Economy disucsses the extent to which China is expanding its operations — and by so doing, courting both allies and pariahs of the United States. Should America view this as a direct threat, or is China simply extending the reach of its Belt and Road initiative in order to maintain essential raw material supply chains? 


Elizabeth Economy: Podcast: Ian Shepherdson On The U.S.-China Trade War And China's Mounting Economic Challenges

interview with Elizabeth Economyvia Council on Foreign Relations
Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Elizabeth Economy discusses China’s mounting economic challenges, progress on economic reform efforts, and the likely long-term economic and geopolitical effects of the US-China trade war.