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Center for Labor Economics and Public Policy Studies of Zhejiang University (LEPP)

1.       The Introduction of LEPP

The Center for Labor Economics and Public Policy Studies of Zhejiang University (LEPP), a key research base of humanities and social sciences of Zhejiang Province, was founded in April, 2005. There are 29 full-time researchers as well as   part-time researchers in LEPP. LEPP is dedicated to seeking solutions for the social problems and the emerging contradictions during the economic and social transition. LEPP focuses on three major research fields, labor economic and labor relations, risk management and social security, and social policy of local government.

LEPP endeavors to conduct original and internationally competitive researches to influence policy decisions and implementations of governments and strives to be a first-class research base.

 

2.       Functions of LEPP

l   Academic Research

The center analyzes the issues and phenomena associated with fields in labor economics, risk management and government policy in a rapidly developing economic environment. LEPP holds academic forums such as local governors’forum and youth forum, and also academic lectures and seminars to ensure the high quality, practicality and innovation of research.

l   Policy Consultation

The core competitiveness of LEPP relies on the support of economics and management studies. The center takes interdisciplinary advantages to make direct impact on the generation and implementation of public policy. The center absorbs part-time researchers into studies and invited officers for lectures in order to strengthen the links with local authorities. Meanwhile, as the think tank of the governments, LEPP concerns on the hot spots in social development, and provides the policy advices

l   Personnel Training

The center consolidates economics, management, and other academic research forces, becoming a considerable strength of the research team. The center also continues to enroll the outstanding graduate students and post-doctorates into team. At the same time LEPP introduces various academic forums, seminars, domestic and international workshops to promote personnel exchanges and development.

 

3.       Research Fields of the Center

l   Labor Economic and Labor Relations

In this research field, Professor YAO Xianguo and his team have made remarkable achievements in recent years, ranking the top three in China. The main research concentrates on the following topics, human capital property rights and labor relations, labor market, labor supply, low-income wage and employment policies, private entrepreneurs, regional economic development.

(1)   Human capital theory has been a popular research theory with powerful explanations to the economic phenomena. The team under Professor YAO Xianguo is one of the earliest teams in China who explore Chinese labor relations according to human capital theory

(2)   The center carries out extensive researches, including the development of Chinese labor market, the operation of the market system, institutional environment and its influences on individuals. Exploring shcooling decisions of personal and family and their macroeconomic effects from the view of effective interactions between labor market and education market, is a major research characteristic of the center. Professor YAO Xianguo and his team have published a series of papers on advanced education, vocational training and retirement policy, monographs on researching the German employment policy, and probed into the aspects and details of  implementing employment management, which all have widespread influence in the academics.

(3)   “The Economics of the Poor” is an important part and mission of economics and public policy research. And labor supply and wage & employment determination of “the Poor” are the basic topics of the economics of the poor. Professor GUO Jijiang in LEPP studies on these topics more deeply, which improves the research on “the Economics of the Poor”.

(4)   Based on the social and economic development of Zhejiang Province, LEPP studies the problems of regional economic development, entrepreneurship and employment. The researches show that the fundamental measure to solve the employment problem is to develop entrepreneurship among the people (including private investment, individual business and self-employment, etc.) and regional economy in Zhejiang.

(5)   Employment management and policy research. The center applies economics, public administraton, sociology and other theories to the application research on employment management, and combines different theories with the research results which are obtained under actual policies. LEPP has established a multi- and inter-disciplinary theoretical platform for studying the employment issues that arise from the economic reform in China. In this field, the center have got several national research grants related to employment policy. In 2004, Professor YAO Xianguo charged a project Human Capital Investment and Labor Market Management in China, which was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China. A large number of papers related to this project were published in both Chinese and English refereed journals.

l   Risk Management and Social Security

The feature of our research in this field lies in the organic integration between social and natural sciences, and the close combination of quantitative analyses, technological assessment measures and public policy research methods. Compared with other researches in China, the researches are in a leading position in four directions: pension fund risks and warning systems, urban and rural social security and harmonious social development, human behavior and health, evolutions of climate changes.

l   Local Social Policies

Researches on this field aim to improve the study of local governments, the development of public policy and the economic and social development of Zhejiang Province. The main research directions are as follows: first, the social policy system of western welfare states; second, the review and evaluation of social policies of governments at all levels in Zhejiang Province since the reform; third, the ability of the governments to make and implement social policies.

 

4.       Main Academic Achievements

As one of the first batch of key research bases of philosophy & social sciences in Zhejiang Province, LEPP has undertook 68 academic research projects since was established: 12 projects supported by China National Natural Science Fund, National Natural Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars and National Social Science Fund; 23 international cooperating research projects; and 1 key project supported by Ministry of Education in China. The total amount of academic fund received by main members in LEPP had arrived at RMB14.32 million in 2006 and 16.13 million in 2007. LEPP has been granted 18 provincial and national awards, and over 200 papers, 18 monographs and a suit of series (5 books) have been published.

The academic achievements have been highly regarded and widely quoted, and the policy advices have been adopted by China central government and Zhejiang local government for many times. LEPP has become one of the important think tanks for governments’ policy-making.

 

5.       Academic Communications

The center has established academic communication relations with more than 20 foreign universities and research institutions, and held 4 international academic conferences and 3 symposiums. Co-operated with National Natural Science Foundation of China, the center held summer seminars on public administration & policy research methods, labor economics and public policy. Since 2006, more than 20 foreign experts from United Kingdom, United States, Germany and other countries have visited the center.

 

6.       Vision

Rooted in Chinese economy, LEPP will track the academic frontiers, grasp discipline direction and exert inter-disciplinary advantages, cultivate multi- and high-level persons specified in public administration to improve its academic status and social service. Also LEPP will strive to be a first-class domestic research institute on labor economics, social security and public policy, an important base specified in training talents of public administration, an important academic frontier in innovating in theory of public administration, and an influential think tank of governments.