Matthew Lowenstein

Hoover Fellow

Matthew Lowenstein is a Hoover Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He studies the economic history of modern China from the late imperial period to the early People’s Republic. His dissertation, which he is currently turning into a book, is a study of northern China’s indigenous financial system from the late Qing to the early Republican period (ca. 1820–1911). Other interests include the history of traditional Chinese accounting, the political economy of warlordism, and the history of central economic planning.

Lowenstein received his PhD in history from the University of Chicago and an MBA from Columbia Business School. Lowenstein previously worked as a securities analyst in Beijing and New York covering the Chinese financial sector. His nonacademic works have appeared in the Diplomat and Foreign Policy.

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Recent Commentary

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Paper Money in the Late Qing and Early Republic, 1820-1935

by Matthew Lowensteinvia Analysis
Wednesday, June 22, 2022

State and civil institutions were both crucial for the integrity of Chinese private paper money from the Qing into the early Republic. The state did not actively support paper notes, but nonetheless upheld a legal regime that honored the sanctity of contracts. For their part, business associations acted as gatekeepers, allowing only financially sound firms to issue notes. These privately issued notes thus circulated through the rural marketing system, stitching together neighboring agrarian and commercial economies far better than unwieldy copper coins.

Paper Money In The Late Qing And Early Republic, 1820-1935

by Matthew Lowenstein
Tuesday, May 17, 2022

This paper traces the history of privately issued paper notes (票帖 piaotie) that circulated as currency in Qing-era China. Private paper notes first appeared in China as early as the Tang dynasty (618-907 AD), but their prevalence expanded by orders of magnitude from the late eighteenth to early nineteenth centuries. By no later than the Daoguang imperial reign (1820- 1850), private paper circulated through all strata of society.


2022 Saller Prize Recipients Announced

featuring Matthew Lowensteinvia Division of the Social Sciences (University of Chicago)
Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Matthew Lowenstein from the Department of History and Jennifer Lu from the Department of Psychology have been selected as the 2022 Saller Prize Recipients by a faculty review committee.