Nottingham University Business School
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Professor Lina Song

Dphil (University of Oxford)
Professor of Economics Sociology and Chinese Studies

Division: Industrial Economics
Centre/Institute: China Research Group
Tel: +44 (0) 115 8466217
Location: C40 (South Building, Jubilee Campus)

I started my research career in the early 1980s. As part of a unique organisation called the "Research Group for Studying China's Rural Development", I investigated peasant livelihoods. Our research topics were linked to the country's rural economic reform program. I then worked at the Research Institute of Economics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. In October 1988, I was selected to join a Ford Foundation postgraduate programme in Oxford designated for training outstanding young economists, and subsequently obtained my DPhil in Oxford. Between 1989 and 1999, I worked at the Institute of Economics and Statistics (now renamed as the Department of Economics), Oxford University.

I have worked at the University of Nottingham since November 1999. I am a professor of development economics with a particular focus on labour issues. I have conducted economic and social research on developing countries with reference to China and Sub-Sahara Africa.

My previously funded projects include "New Urban Poverty in China" (DfID); "Poverty, Migration and Public Health" (the Ford Foundation); "Explaining China's Economic Growth with Enterprise Data" (ESRC); and "Economic Inequality and Socio-political Instability in China" (CCK). I am currently the Principal Investigator for the ESRC / DfID funded project with a total grant of 570,000 (contributed by ESRC). And the project is entitled "Local Government, Economic Growth and Human Development: Chinese Lessons for Kenya and Uganda?" I am the Winner of Richard A. Lester Prize for "the Outstanding Book in Labour Economics and Industrial Relations published in 2005" and have published broadly.

I have regularly served as consultant to the international organizations and have advised both Chinese government and British government. I have served on the Editorial Board for China Economic Review since 1st July 2001 (second term) and was a council member for the British Association of China Studies between 2000 and 2004.

Administrative Roles
Divisional Research Director (Industrial Economics)
Current Research Activities
Areas of expertise include the design and conduct of fieldwork, and the use of advanced statistical method (mainly econometrics) to analyse data. My approach to research and teaching is multi-disciplinary, combining economics and sociology with strong application to issues of social and public policy.

I am committed to original data collection, and have led or participated in over 10 field-surveys in China and one in Sierra Leone. These all involve questionnaire design, scientific sampling and quantitative analysis.
I am currently supervising the following Research Students:

Ali Shakil Khan
Kilugala Malimi
Kun Bao
Lury Sofyan
Zhiyi Ren

Publications prior to 2005

Publications prior to 2005

Journal Articles

Haddad, L; Alderman, H; Appleton,S; Song, L; Yohannes, Y. (2003), "Reducing child malnutrition: how far does income growth take us?", The World Bank Economic Review, Vol.17 (1), pp. 107-131.

Knight, J; and Song, L. (2003), "Increasing urban wage inequality in China", The Economics of Transition, Vol.11 (4), pp. 597-619.

Knight, J; Song, L. (2003), "Chinese Peasant Choices: Migration, Rural Industry or Farming", Oxford Development Studies, Vol.31 (2), pp. 123-148.

Appleton, S; Knight, J; Xia, Q, (2002), "Labor retrenchment in China: Determinants and Consequences", China Economic Review, Vol.13 (2-3), pp. 252-275.

Knight, J; Song, L. (1999), "Employment Constraints and sub-optimality in Chinese enterprises", Oxford Economic Papers, Vol.51 (1), pp. 284-299.

Knight, J; Song, L; Huaibin, J. (1999), "Chinese Rural Migrants in Urban Enterprises: Three Perspectives", Journal of Development Studies, Vol.35 (2), pp. 73-104.

Knight, J; and Song, L. (1996), "Towards A Labour Market in China", Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Vol.11 (4), pp. 97-117.

Knight, J; and Song, L. (1993), "The Spatial Contribution to Income Inequity in Rural China", Cambridge Journal of Economics, Vol.17 (2), pp. 195-213.

Knight, J; Song, L. (1993), "The Spatial Contribution to Income Inequity in Rural China", Cambridge Journal of Economics, Vol.17 (2), pp. 195-213, forthcoming 1993.

Knight, J; Song, L. (1993), "The Length of Life and the Standard of Living: Economic Influences on Premature Death in China", Canadian Journal of Development Studies, Vol.30, pp. 58-91, forthcoming 1993.


Knight, J; and Song, L. (1999), The Rural-Urban Divide, Economic Disparities and Interactions in China, Oxford University Presss.

Knight, J; Song, L. (1993), Why Urban Wages Differ in China., London: Macmillan, forthcoming 1993.

Knight, J; Song, L. (1990), The Determinants of Urban Income Inequality in China, (53 (2)), Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming 1990.

Song, L. (1990), Convergence: a Comparison between China's State Enterprises and Rural Government-Owned Enterprises, Oxford University Press, forthcoming 1990.

Song, L; He, Du. (1990), The Role of China's Township Governments in Rural Industrialisation, Oxford University Press, forthcoming 1990.

Chapters in Books

Song, L. (2001), "Gender effects on household resource allocation in rural China", in China's retreat from equality: income distribution and economic transition N. Y.: M.E. Sharpe.

Song, L, (2000), "Diversification of Household Production in Rural China: Determinants and Outcomes", in Rural Labor Flows in China, pp. 101-128, University of California Press, Berkeley, CA USA.

Song, L, (1999), "The Role of Women in Labour Migration: A Case Study of China", in Women of China: Economic and Social Transformation, pp. 68-89, MacMillan Publishers Ltd, London.

Knight, J; Song, L. (1993), "Workers in China's Rural Industry: Rural Elite, Disadvantaged Employees?", in The Distribution of Income in China, pp. 173-215, London: Macmillan.


Song, L, 2001, "The Entitled and Unentitled: Urban Laid-off Workers versus Rural Migrants", in International Conference-Research Center for Population Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Publications from 2005 to the present day

Journal Articles

Gaggero, A.; Appleton, S.; Song, L, (2018), "Framing effects on bribery behaviour: experimental evidence from China and Uganda", Journal of the Economic Science Association, Vol.4(1), pp. 86-97.

Long, W.; Appleton, S., Song, L. (2017), "The Impacts of job contact network on wages of rural-urban migrants in China: a switching regression approach", Journal of Chinese Economics and Business Studies, Vol.15 (1), 81-101.

Appleton, S; Song, L; xia, Q. (2014), "Understanding Urban Wage Inequality in China 1988-2007", World Development, Vol.62, pp. 1-13.

Xia, Q., Song, L.. Li, S., Appleton, S, (2014), "The effect of the state sector on wage inequality in urban China: 1988-2007", Journal of Chinese Economics and Business Studies, Vol.12 (1), pp. 29-45.

Guariglia, A; Liu, X; Song, L. (2011), "Internal finance and growth: microeconmetric evidence on Chinese firms", Journal of Development Economics.

Appleton, S; Song, L; Xia, Q. (2010), "Growing out of poverty: trends and patterns of urban poverty in China 1988-2002", World Development.

Appleton, S; Knight, J; Song, L; xia, Q. (2009), "The Economics of Communist Party Membership: the curious case of rising numbers and wage premium during China's transition", World Development, Vol.4, pp. 50-68.

Knight, J; Song, L; Gunatilaka, R. (2009), "Subjective well-being and its determinants in rural China", China Economic Review, Vol.20 (4), pp. 635-649.

Xia, Q; Song, L; Knight, J; Appleton, S. (2009), "State ownership Reform in 1990s and its Impacts on Chinese Urban Market", Journal of Chinese Economics and Business Studies, Vol.4, pp. 50-68.

Zu, L; Song, L. (2009), "Determinants of managerial values on corporate social responsibility: evidence from China", Journal of Business Ethics, Vol.88 (1), pp. 105-117.

Appleton, S; Song, L. (2008), "Life Satisfaction in urban China: components and determinants", World Development, Vol.36 (11), pp. 2325-2340.

Song, L; Appleton, S and Knight J, (2006), "Why do girls in rural China have lower school enrollment?", World Development, Vol.34 (9), pp. 1639-1653.

Appleton, S; Song, L; Xia, Q, (2005), "Has China crossed the river? The evolution of wage structure in urban China during reform and retrenchment", Journal of Comparative Economics.

Song, L; Appleton, S. (2005), "The Entitled versus the Unentitled: An Investigation into Government Interventions of Job-search in China", Vol.2 (3), pp. 167-188.


Knight, J; Song, L, (2005), Towards a labour market in China, Oxford Press.

Chapters in Books

Song, L, (2014), "Urban Wages in China", in Oxford Companion to the Economics of China, pp. 230-234, Oxford University Press.

Song, L; Appleton, S. (2008), "Social Protection and migration in China: What can protect migrants from economic uncetainty?", in Migration and social protection in China, 138-152, World Scientific.

Song, L; Appleton, S. (2008), "The Myth of the "New Urban Poverty"? Trends in Urban Poverty in China, 1988-2002", in Urban Chna in Transition, 48-65, Blackwell Publishing.

Knight, J; Song, L. (2007), "China's emerging wage structure, 1995-2002", in Inequality and Public Policy in 2002.

Knight, J; Li, S; Song, L. (2006), "The rural-Urban Divide and the Evolution of Political Economy in China", in Human Development in the Age of Globalization, Edward Elgar.



Nottingham University Business School

Jubilee Campus

telephone: +44 (0) 115 846 6602
fax: +44 (0) 115 846 6667