(852) 2358 7782
Office Room 3380

Kellee Sing Tsai


IEMS Research Areas


Prior to joining HKUST, Professor Tsai was Vice Dean for Humanities and Social Sciences (2010-13) and Professor of Political Science at Johns Hopkins University. As Director of the East Asian Studies Program (2008-10) at Hopkins, she led the establishment of two new programs in Nanjing, China, Hopkins-China STEM and Hopkins-in-Nanjing. Tsai is regarded as an authority on informal finance in China and the impact of adaptive informal institutions on endogenous institutional change. Her current research concerns the political economy of remittances and ethnic foreign direct investment in China and India.



  • State Capitalism, Institutional Adaptation, and the Chinese Miracle, co-edited with Barry Naughton (New York and London: Cambridge University Press, 2015).
  • CAPITALISM WITHOUT DEMOCRACY: The Private Sector in Contemporary China (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2007). Chinese translation published by Zhejiang People’s Publishing House, Hangzhou, China, 2012.
  • Japan and China in the World Political Economy, co-edited with Saadia Pekkanen (New York: Routledge, 2005).
  • Nongyehua yu minjian jinrong: Wenzhou de jingyan [Rural industrialization and informal finance: Wenzhou’s experience], co-authored with Wang Xiaoyi and Li Renqing (Taiyuan: Shanxi jingji chubanshe, 2004).
  • BACK-ALLEY BANKING: Private Entrepreneurs in China (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2002; paperback in 2004). Chinese translation published by the Center for Contemporary China Series, National Tsing Hua University, Taipei, Taiwan, 2007.


  • "The Political Economy of State Capitalism and Shadow Banking in China," Issues and Studies 51, 1 (March 2015).
  • “China's Political Economy and Political Science,” Perspectives on Politics 11, 2 (June 2013).
  • “The Politics of Ambiguity in Asia's Sovereign Wealth Funds,” (co-authored with Saadia M. Pekkanen) Business and Politics 13, 2 (August 2011).
  • “Friends, Family, or Foreigners? The Political Economy of Diasporic FDI and Remittances in China and India,” China Report 47, 2 (May 2011).
  • “Adaptive Informal Institutions and Endogenous Institutional Change in China,” World Politics 59 (October 2006): 116-141.
  • “Imperfect Substitutes: The Local Political Economy of Informal Finance and Microfinance in Rural China and India,” World Development 32, 9 (September 2004): 1487-1507.


  • “Institutional Adaptability in China:  Local Developmental Models Under Changing Economic Conditions,” (co-authored with Xiaoxiao Shen), World Development 87 (November 2016): 107-127.
  • “The External is Incidental: Asia’s Sovereign Wealth Funds and the Shaping of the Santiago Principles,” (co-authored with Saadia M. Pekkanen), in Saadia M. Pekkanen, ed., Asian Designs: Governance in the Contemporary World Order (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2016), 75-92.
  • “When Shadow Banking Can be Productive: Financing Small and Medium Enterprises in China,” Journal of Development Studies (September 2016): 1-25.
  • “Cosmopolitan Capitalism: Local State-Society Relations in China and India,” Journal of Asian Studies 75, 2 (May 2016): 335-361.