Invisible China: How the Urban-Rural Divide Threatens China’s Rise — Book Launch Event

Friday, October 30, 2020
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

This event will take place on Zoom. Registration is required:

Book cover for "Invisible China: How the Urban-Rural Divide Threatens China's Rise" and a quote from Scott Rozelle, "The entire population of 800 million people has become almost fully invisible over the past decades..."

As the glittering skyline in Shanghai seemingly attests, China has quickly transformed itself from a place of stark poverty into a modern, urban, technologically savvy economic powerhouse. But as FSI Senior Fellow Scott Rozelle and Natalie Hell show in their new book Invisible China, the truth is much more complicated and might be a serious cause for concern.

Drawing on extensive surveys on the ground in China, Rozelle and Hell reveal that while China may be the second-largest economy in the world, its labor force has one of the lowest levels of education of any comparable country. The low levels of basic education of such a large share of workers may leave many unable to find work in the formal workplace as China’s economy changes and manufacturing jobs move elsewhere.

In this book talk event, Rozelle, who is also the director of FSI’s Rural Education Action Program, will be joined by Hongbin Li, a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research and director of the China Program at the Stanford King Center on Global Development, who will moderate a discussion about the major themes of the book. A question and answer session with the audience will follow the discussion.


scott rozelle new headshot

Scott Rozelle holds the Helen Farnsworth Endowed Professorship at Stanford University and is Senior Fellow in the Food Security and Environment Program and the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center, Freeman Spogli Institute (FSI) for International Studies. For the past 30 years, he has worked on the economics of poverty reduction. Currently, his work on poverty has its full focus on human capital, including issues of rural health, nutrition and education. For the past 20 year, Rozelle has been the chair of the International Advisory Board of the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). In recent years Rozelle spends most of his time co-directing the Rural Education Action Project (REAP). In recognition of this work, Dr. Rozelle has received numerous honors and awards. Among them, he became a Yangtse Scholar (Changjiang Xuezhe) in Renmin University of China in 2008. In 2008 he also was awarded the Friendship Award by Premiere Wen Jiabao, the highest honor that can be bestowed on a foreigner. 

hongbin li headshot


Hongbin Li is the James Liang Director of the China Program at the Stanford King Center on Global Development, and a Senior Fellow of Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR). Hongbin’s research has been focused on the transition and development of the Chinese economy, and the evidence-based research results have been both widely covered by media outlets and well read by policy makers around the world. He is currently the co-editor of the Journal of Comparative Economics.