Michael Pettis

Nonresident Senior Fellow
Asia Program

Pettis, an expert on China’s economy, is professor of finance at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management, where he specializes in Chinese financial markets.

Michael Pettis is a nonresident senior fellow in the Carnegie Asia Program based in Beijing. An expert on China’s economy, Pettis is professor of finance at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management, where he specializes in Chinese financial markets. 

From 2002 to 2004, he also taught at Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management and, from 1992 to 2001, at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business. He is a member of the Institute of Latin American Studies Advisory Board at Columbia University as well as the Dean’s Advisory Board at the School of Public and International Affairs.

Pettis worked on Wall Street in trading, capital markets, and corporate finance since 1987, when he joined the sovereign debt trading team at Manufacturers Hanover (now JPMorgan). Most recently, from 1996 to 2001, Pettis worked at Bear Stearns, where he was managing director principal heading the Latin American capital markets and the liability management groups. He has also worked as a partner in a merchant-banking boutique that specialized in securitizing Latin American assets and at Credit Suisse First Boston, where he headed the emerging markets trading team.

In addition to trading and capital markets, Pettis has been involved in sovereign advisory work, including for the Mexican government on the privatization of its banking system, the Republic of Macedonia on the restructuring of its international bank debt, and the South Korean Ministry of Finance on the restructuring of the country’s commercial bank debt.

He formerly served as a member of the Board of Directors of ABC-CA Fund Management Company, a Sino–French joint venture based in Shanghai. He is the author of several books, including The Great Rebalancing: Trade, Conflict, and the Perilous Road Ahead for the World Economy (Princeton University Press, 2013).

 

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    • April 03, 2018

    High Wages Versus High Savings in a Globalized World

    60

    Democracies will increasingly have to choose between raising wages and redistributing income or maintaining free trade and capital flows. Because they are likely to choose the former, the world may face a long-term reversal of globalization.

    • January 25, 2018

    The GDP of Bridges to Nowhere

    30

    In most economies, GDP growth is a measure of economic output generated by the performance of the underlying economy. In China, however, Beijing sets annual GDP growth targets it expects to meet. Turning GDP growth into an economic input, rather than an output, radically changes its meaning and interpretation.

    • January 12, 2018

    Why China Likely Won’t Buy Fewer U.S. Treasury Bonds

    50

    A January 2018 Bloomberg article suggests that Chinese officials may reduce their purchases of U.S. government bonds. It is very unlikely that China can do so in any meaningful way because doing so would almost certainly be costly for Beijing. And even if China took this step, it would have either no impact or a positive impact on the U.S. economy.

    • September 29, 2017

    EVENT: China’s Economy After the Party Congress

    4

    Michael Pettis will be joined by Carnegie’s vice president for studies Douglas H. Paal to address economic factors challenging China and the new leadership that will emerge from the congress. Watch live on Monday, October 2.

    • September 05, 2017

    Is China’s Economy Growing as Fast as China’s GDP?

    116

    If local governments and state-owned enterprises in China systematically invest in projects that are not economically justified, to the extent that these projects are not correctly marked to market, China’s reported GDP will be overstated by that amount, as will its total wealth.

    • June 26, 2017

    Does Cutting Taxes on the Wealthy Lead to Greater Growth?

    124

    Policies that increase income inequality can in some cases lead to higher savings, higher investment, and greater long-term growth. But, in other cases, such policies either reduce growth and increase unemployment or force up the debt burden. What determines which of these outcomes takes place is whether or not savings are scarce and have constrained investment.

    • June 14, 2017

    Guaranteeing Employees Against Losses

    14

    A number of Chinese companies are trying to shore up their stock prices with programs that encourage employees to buy shares and ensuring them against losses. These programs have implications about leverage in China and about the way losses may be distributed within the banking system.

    • May 22, 2017

    Will a Smaller Fiscal Deficit Cause the Trade Deficit to Decline or Unemployment to Rise?

    44

    In a recent much-remarked-upon and very short op-ed, George P. Shultz and Martin Feldstein argue that the only way, or at least the best way, to cut the U.S. trade deficit is for Washington to cut the U.S. fiscal deficit. It is at least as likely, however, that cutting the fiscal deficit will simply increase debt or increase unemployment.

    • May 02, 2017

    Why A Savings Glut Does Not Increase Savings

    40

    Contrary to conventional thinking, a savings glut does not necessarily cause global savings to rise. A savings glut must result in an increase in productive investment, an increase in the debt burden, or an increase in unemployment.

    • April 18, 2017

    No, First Quarter Numbers Don’t Mean Growth Has Bottomed Out

    37

    As long as China has debt capacity, it can achieve any GDP growth rate Beijing requires, simply by allowing credit to expand. But debt levels are already high, and credit must expand at an accelerating pace to maintain growth. China is probably still a few years away from reaching its debt limits, but the more debt grows, the lower the country’s growth rate average will be over the long term.

Education

MBA, Finance, Columbia University
MIA, Development Economics, Columbia University

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