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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    • March 04, 2019

    Should the United States Run a Trade Surplus?

    12

    Although standard trade theory predicts that highly advanced economies with sophisticated financial sectors, like the United States, should generally run trade surpluses, the country has run persistent, and often large, trade deficits for five decades. This can only be a consequence of significant global economic distortions.

    • February 07, 2019

    Why U.S. Debt Must Continue to Rise

    24

    Debt is rising more quickly in the United States than most people would prefer. This is happening in part because the U.S. current account deficit and the country’s high level of income inequality distort the structure and amount of American savings.

    • January 16, 2019

    What Is GDP in China?

    41

    Analysts are increasingly skeptical that China’s very high reported GDP growth rate provides a meaningful picture of the economy’s health. There are, however, at least three very different ways that reported GDP can fail to reflect the underlying economy.

    • November 14, 2018

    What China’s Online Shopping Craze Says About Its Bubble Economy

    18

    November 11, known in China as Singles’ Day, started out as a wry, tongue-in-cheek holiday. It has since become a major draw for online shopping, a profoundly Chinese celebration, and an expression of the country’s modern urban youth. But the rampant commercialization of Singles’ Day may one day come to be seen as a symbol of the era of China’s bubble economy.

    • September 05, 2018

    Beijing’s Three Options: Unemployment, Debt, or Wealth Transfers

    99

    China’s debt problems have emerged so much more rapidly and severely this year than in the past that a growing number of analysts believe that this may be the year that China’s economy breaks. There is no question that China will have a difficult adjustment, but it is likely to take the form of a long process rather than a sudden crisis.

    • August 08, 2018

    The U.S. Trade Deficit Isn’t Caused by Low American Savings

    34

    A recent article by Joseph Stiglitz suggests that the United States runs a current account deficit because its people save too little to fund domestic investment. In fact, he may have it backwards: Americans may save too little precisely because the United States runs a current account deficit.

    • July 10, 2018

    Tariffs and Trade Intervention

    65

    Most of the discussions among economists about the impacts of tariffs and trade intervention are more ideological than logical. While tariffs may cause households to pay more for tradable goods, there are many other ways households, and the overall economy, are affected, positively and negatively. What matters are the conditions under which trade intervention policies are made.

    • April 03, 2018

    High Wages Versus High Savings in a Globalized World

    64

    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

    31

    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.

Education

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

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