Statement of Purpose
Program: Institutional Economics (Harvard University)
According to Random House Unabridged Dictionary (2nd Edition), the word “student” can be defined as either “a person formally engaged in learning, esp. one enrolled in a school or college” or “any person who studies, investigates, or examines thoughtfully.” As a student of economics, I have endeavored to conform to this definition not in an “either-or” manner but in a “both-and” fashion. This is because to be a student who receives the input of knowledge, though fundamental and essential, is nevertheless limited and passive. To compensate for this inadequacy, I have tried to be a thoughtful student who generates subjective output through critical inquiries, exercising my own subjectivity and creativity and making original contributions to the academic discipline I am so interested in.
The impulse toward a student of input and the impulse toward a student of output have been closely intertwined in me and have alternated throughout my intellectual development as an undergraduate at the Department of Finance, School of Economics, Peking University. At this century-old, most prestigious comprehensive university of China, which was the first to champion the development of science and democracy in contemporary Chinese history, I was taught how to learn and to inquire, to cultivate the spirit of skepticism and to subject even the most orthodox theories to the most rigorous challenges.
My immediate role model is Prof. Ma Yinchu who, a celebrated economist himself, served as president of Peking University during the late 1950’s. When he proposed the idea of birth control in his book New Theory on Population, he was accused of being anti-communist and was persecuted on the allegation that he planned to thwart the country’s massive “socialist construction” that required massive human resource. Forced to resign his presidency, he was deprived of the right to publish his research findings. Several decades later, however, amid China’s population explosion and its raging consequences, his theories prevailed and radical measures of birth control have been introduced. To a great extent, economists are the conscience of society who seek underlying truth even at their personal sacrifices, under the spirit of the free play of the mind.
In learning economics at a university which is so imbued with time-honored academic legacy and where are concentrated the best talents of the country, I did my best to become the elite of the elites so that I could prove myself her worthy student. Toward this objective, I undertook my academic work with great initiative. This not only led to my 3.63 GPA (including highest scores for quite a few core courses) in my specialty but also a second bachelor’s degree of science in mathematics and applied mathematics. In addition, I have completed a total of six research papers. Without any exaggeration, this achievement has been very phenomenal in the entire School of Economics.
Based on a comprehensive spectrum of coursework and confronted with the economic realities of the country, I found myself increasingly interested in industrial economics and institutional economics, branches of microeconomics that study specific factors directly related to economic growth. My strong proficiency in mathematical modeling laid the cornerstone for my research. Inspired by The Theory of Industrial Organization by Jean Tirole, I focused my first study on the “industrial clusters” in China’s eastern coastal regions. By constructing a highly simplified model, I demonstrated how China’s lack of a well-developed market mechanism and enterprise system has resulted in the formation of industrial clusters in the small and medium eastern cities and how an optimum pattern of labor division among the clusters contributes to an unparalleled regional competitiveness. The product of this research was two papers Mechanism of Formation of Industrial Clusters in Small and Medium Cities in China and The Advantages of Labor Division Among Industrial Clusters (the latter published this July in Economics Dynamics, a leading scholarly journal), in which the issues beyond the theoretical framework of mainstream economics models are addressed. The theoretical approaches generalized from this study can account for the “Friedman Puzzle”.
In a lecture hosted by deputy director of the Department, I made a presentation on the first paper, a core working paper of Economics Workshop, to the teachers and graduate students of our school in Nov. 20XX. This was an unprecedented event for an undergraduate. A similar event occurred when a graduate seminar, hosted by the vice dean of the School, was held on another core working paper of mine at the Workshop—Mechanism of Property Right Externalization of “Just in Time”. Through a model-based analysis of the just-in-time mechanism of management and management efficiency in the restaurant industry, my study demonstrates that the promotion of a new industrial system is determined not by the short-term improvement in management efficiency, but by the market incentive mechanism and the realization of large-scaled management.
My interest in industrial organizations motivated me to study the reform of China’s state-owned enterprises in my Share-Shareholder Voting System, published in Science and Technology Progress & Policy (04/20XX). Modeled on the representation pattern of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, I proposed a voting system that maintains the status of majority shareholder (the state) while maximizing the protection of minority (non-state investors) interests. My research achievements also include The Asymmetrical Factors of Differentiated Products, a critique of the symmetric monopolistic competition model of Avinash Dixit and Joseph Stiglitz, The Internal Stability Underlying the Fluctuations of Stock Market Prices, and The Divergent Model of China’s Insurance Market Dynamics and its Empirical Study.
Since this September, I have been undertaking my Master’s program at the Department of Economics, University of West Ontario. I was admitted and granted fellowship on the strengths of my distinguished academic performance, the research work performed and research papers I have published as an undergraduate. I am working on MA program (B), which is specifically offered to students who plan on continuing into the Ph.D. program. Concomitantly, I am working as TA, marking papers and running tutorials. The courses I am taking (together with the first-year doctoral students) allow me to further accumulate extensive background skills in macroeconomics, microeconomics, micrometrics and mathematics. By the time I complete my MA program (I have the confidence to be a straight-A achiever), I will have already taken all the classic courses in a standard Ph.D. program in north America.
Although my admission into the Ph.D. program at West Ontario is automatic upon my completion of the MA program, I choose to apply for a Ph.D. in the United States where scholarship on economics is reputed as the most cutting-edge. Most importantly, I am looking for a mentor whose research bears close affinity to mine—institutional economics. My careful study of the Department of Economics of Harvard University has enabled me to identify a potential supervisor—Prof. Oliver Hart—who is an Andrew E. Furer professor of economics. He can instruct me on such research topics as Theory of the Firm and Organizations. Among your selected PhD thesis titles, I am most interested in “The Organization of Productive Activities in Developing Countries: The Role of Business Groups”. I am convinced that I can enrich your Ph.D. program by contributing my special Chinese backgrounds, experiences and insights.
I fully agree with the existentialist proposition by Jean-Paul Sartre that existence precedes essence. In choosing the career path of an economics researcher, I wish to accomplish important missions. The special cultural, historical, ideological, and social conditions have produced special patterns of Chinese economy that do not fit into any neat categories of western economics and are not amenable to ready explanations. In its campaign to build up a “socialist market economy”, China has triggered drastic institutional changes over the past decade. Without incorporating the particularity of the institutional changes that happen in China, the mainstream Institutional Economics in the West would be incomplete. On the other hand, the number of Chinese economists with strong mathematical modeling skills and training in standard western economics is limited. In this regard, I see myself as a potential gap abridger.
In The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith made the classic observation that individuals acting in their own self-interest can benefit society more than they expect to. In fulfilling my egocentric interest in doing scholarly work on economics, I wish to perform my sociocentric roles. My passion for economics makes me mission-bound. For me, to be or not to be an economist, that is not a question. My only question is whether I can work together with an elite professor whose guidance will help me develop my research potential to the fullest extent and become a high achiever — a true student of economics who does not work inside the romanticized ivory tower but intensely committed to the well-being of the larger society.
目 的 陈 述
依据Random House Unabridged Dictionary（第二版），“STUDENT”一词或可释义为“一个正式投身于学习的人，尤指学校或学院注册在读者”，或可释义为“任何一个以富有思想的方式进行研究、探索或剖析的人”。作为一个经济学的student，一直以来，我都在竭尽全力使自己合乎这一定义，不是以一种“两者取一”的方式，而是以一种“两者合一”的方式。这是因为，单纯作为一个接受知识“输入”的学生，虽然不乏其基本和本质的意义，却是有限的和被动的。为了弥补这一不足，我力图将自己培养成一个有思想的“学者”，通过批判性的质询，作出主观上的输出，发挥我自己的主体性和创造性，对我如此醉心于其中的学科作出我独特的贡献。
我对产业组织的兴趣促使我在发表于《科技进步与政策》（20XX年4月）的论文《股份—股东投票法》中研究中国国有企业的改革问题。以美国参、众两院的代表模式为模型，我提出了一种投票制度，一方面可维持国家作为大股东的地位，另一方面也能最大程度地保护弱小群体（即非国家投资者）的利益。此外，我的研究成果还包括《差异化产品的不对称因素》，对Avinash Dixit和Joseph Stiglitz的对称垄断竞争模型进行了批判，以及《股票市场价格波动的稳定性分析》和《中国保险市场动态分岔模型及实证分析》等。
虽然在我获得硕士学位之际在西安大略大学攻读博士是水到渠成之事，但我还是选择申请在美国攻读博士学位，因为那里的经济学学术研究以最为前沿而享誉全球。最重要的是，我要寻找一位其研究与我自己的研究最能匹配的良师，能在制度经济学领域给予我有益的教诲。我对哈佛大学经济系的细致查询使我得以找到一位潜在的导师——Oliver Hart教授，一位Andrew E. Furer基金会经济学教授。他能在公司与组织理论这一领域指导我。在贵校博士论文课题选辑中，我最感兴趣的是“发展中国家生产活动的组织——商业团体的作用”。我相信，我可以贡献我特殊的中国背景、经验和见解，从而来丰富贵校的博士教学。