Edward Steinfeld

Howard R. Swearer Director of the Thomas J. Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Dean's Professor of China Studies, Professor of Political Science, Director of the China Initiative
Areas of Expertise Political economy of contemporary China, political economy of global production and innovation, political economy of energy.


Edward Steinfeld is the Howard R. Swearer Director of the Thomas J. Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, the Dean's Professor of China Studies, and professor in the Department of Political Science, as well as director of the China Initiative. Steinfeld received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University. In addition to a variety of academic articles, Steinfeld is the author of "Playing Our Game: Why China's Rise Doesn't Threaten the West" (Oxford, 2010) and "Forging Reform in China: The Fate of State-Owned Industry" (Cambridge, 1998). He is the author of numerous articles in both academic and non-academic journals, including Comparative Politics, Political Studies, World Development, the Far Eastern Economic Review, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the South China Morning Post. Steinfeld is a member of the board of directors of the National Committee on US-China Relations, as well as a member of the academic committee of the Center for Industrial Development and Environmental Governance at Tsinghua University.


Playing Our Game: Why China's Rise Doesn't Threaten the West. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.

"Where China is Headed," Wall Street Journal, Oct. 14, 2010.

"Greener Plants, Grayer Skies: A Report from the Front Lines of China's Energy Sector," Energy Policy, Vol. 37, No. 5, May, 2009: 1809-1824. (with Richard Lester, and Edward A. Cunningham).

"The Capitalist Embrace: China Ten Years After the Asian Financial Crisis," in Andrew MacIntyre, T.J. Pempel, and John Ravenhill, eds., East Asia: Ten Years After the Crisis, Ithaca, NY: Cornell Univ. Press, 2008.

"Coal Consumption in China and India," Chapter 5 in The Future of Coal: An MIT Interdisciplinary Study, 2007. (with Richard K. Lester).

"The Rogue that Plays by the Rules," Washington Post, September 2, 2007.

"China's Shallow Integration: Networked Production and the New Challenges for Late Industrialization," World Development 32(11), 2004: 1971-1987.

Recent News

News from Watson

Watson welcomes largest-ever cohort of military fellows

The Watson Institute recently welcomed a new cohort to its Military Fellows Program for the 2023-2024 academic year. The six new fellows will spend the next year immersed in Watson's scholarly community, engaging with students and faculty, taking classes, giving special lectures, attending seminars and conducting research.
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A course in the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs master's of public affairs program aims to teach students how policy is shaped by various factors and how those factors differ—or not—in settings around the world. It also exposes them to the breadth of subject and regional expertise at the Institute by engaging Watson faculty as guest lecturers.
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Watson Director Edward Steinfeld provided commentary in this interview, stating, "Steel became not just an important industry for China, but it became a symbol in a way, an embodiment of socialist command planning. But it was also an embodiment of modernity."
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