News Centre

27 Feb 2007

Nobel Laureate Douglass North to lecture at CUHKLive Broadcast to Local Schools and Mainland Universities

27 Feb 2007

The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) has invited Professor Douglass North, 1993 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences to deliver a lecture entitled “The Natural State” this Thursday (1 March). The lecture is well-received and participants from different disciplines have registered. They include: government officials, scholars of local universities, CUHK staff and students, as well as secondary school teachers and students. The lecture is also available live on CUHK website (, and websites of other participating institutions, facilitating viewers in Hong Kong and Mainland China. Participating institutions include local tertiary institutions: Hong Kong Baptist University, City University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, Lingnan University, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, The University of Hong Kong and The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology; CUHK – Tung Wah Group of Hospitals Community College, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks, Hong Kong Education City, as well as 7 universities on the mainland including Peking University, Tsinghua University, Fudan University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Zhejiang University, Nanjing University and Sun Yat-sen Unviersity.

Professor Douglass C. North, received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1993 and has spent more than 50 years pondering complex variations of a simple question: Why do some countries become rich, while others remain poor ? Professor North graduated with a triple BA degree in political science, philosophy, and economics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1942, and later, in 1952, received a Ph.D. degree in economics there. He began his academic career at the University of Washington in Seattle where he spent 33 years as a member of the economics faculty, including five years as director of the Institute for Economic Research. Currently he is the Bartlett Burnap Senior Fellow at Hoover Institution.

He joined the faculty of Washington University in St. Louis in 1983, and was installed as the first Spencer T. Olin Professor in Arts and Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis in October 1996.

His research interests have included property rights, transaction costs, economic organization in history, a theory of the state, the free rider problem; and have focused on the formation of political and economic institutions and the consequences of these institutions on the performance of economies through time. That research was published by Cambridge University Press in Institutions, Institutional and Economic Performance. His most recent research is set forth in his current book titled Understanding the Process of Economic Change.

Synopsis of the Lecture:

In this lecture, Professor North will provide a whole new approach to understanding the process of economic change. The natural state is a complex of independent political, economic, and social elites that tend to evolve automatically as humans create societal organizations throughout history. Why the natural state is natural and why it is so difficult to transform to an “open access” society will be the focus of this lecture.