Lizhi Liu Earns 2020 Ronald H. Coase Award

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Lizhi Liu, an assistant professor of strategy at Georgetown McDonough, was awarded the 2020 Ronald H. Coase Award for the Best Dissertation in Institutional and Organizational Economics in June. This highly coveted award, given by the Society for Institutional & Organizational Economics, was named after Nobel Prize Winner Ronald H. Coase, who was the founding president of the society. 

“Liu’s thesis provides a fascinating tour de force into the emergence and rise of e-commerce in China – one of the most important institutional developments of the last decade,” said Andrea Prat, chair of the award committee. “This work is immensely relevant to the topic and the significant progress in understanding fundamental aspects of modern-day capitalism. The thesis contains countless many more facts, hypotheses, tests and should be compulsory reading for any scholar interested in how institutions evolve.”

Liu’s dissertation “From Click to Boom: The Political Economy of E-Commerce in China” is a solo-authored book-style dissertation that is in the process of being revised into a book manuscript. The paper presents the first systematic effort in political economy to study the political implications of e-commerce, an economic force that has revolutionized the way over a billion users trade across the globe. The dissertation delves into the social and political effects of the rise of online entrepreneurship throughout China. Importantly, her research proposes that China has developed a digital solution, that is, institutional outsourcing, to the central question of how developing countries build market-supporting institutions.

Liu’s dissertation also won the 2019 Best Dissertation Award in the area of information technology and politics by the American Political Science Association.

Liu’s research has been funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Bradley Foundation, the Weiss Family Program Fund, the Stanford Center of International Development, and the Stanford Institute for Innovation in Developing Economies, among others. She currently is the guest researcher of the Alibaba Research Center for Rural Dynamics. 

In addition to being a faculty member at Georgetown McDonough, Liu serves as a faculty affiliate of the Department of Government at Georgetown. Her research interests include the political economy of development, digital economy, and emerging markets. She holds a Ph.D. in political science, a master’s in statistics, and a master’s in international policy studies, all from Stanford University.