Xiaobo Lü

Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Political Science

Comparative Politics

Department Chair 2015-2018


Xiaobo Lü, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Political Science, joined the Barnard faculty in 1994. He is the founding director of Columbia Global Centers in Beijing. He is Acting Director and a former director of the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University. Professor Lü teaches courses on Chinese politics, political economy, comparative political corruption and it control, and comparative politics. He is a recipient of the Emily Gregory Award for Excellence in Teaching at Barnard College.

His research interests include Chinese politics, US-China relations, politics of economic development, corruption and good governance, regulatory reforms, and government-business relations. He has published widely on these subjects and consults for business firms, civic groups, and government agencies. He has been Visiting Professor at Tsinghua University, Jiaotong University and Tongji University in China; City University of Hong Kong; Hertie School of Governance in Berlin; Institute of Political Science (Sciences-Po) and Paris University I-Sorbonne in Paris. Professor Lü serves on the editorial boards of several international scholarly journals.

He is a member of Council on Foreign Relations and the National Committee of US-China Relations. He has appeared on PBS, CNN, BBC, and NPR on issues related to Chinese politics, macroeconomics, social change, and governance. He also gives public speeches on broader topics such as the rise of global populism, corruption, social media and their political and social impact, and politics of economic development. He has delivered speeches and briefings to organizations such as the Council on Foreign Relations, European Commission, the Asia Foundation, the Asia Society, World Affairs Council, National Committee for US-China Relations, American Center for International Leadership, Asia Society, the China Institute of America, and the Japan Society. Xiaobo Lü received his PhD degree in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.


Selected Publications:

Taxation without Representation in Contemporary Rural China, with T. Bernstein (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003).

"Transition, Globalization, and Changing Industrial Relations in China," Industrial Relations in the Age of Globalization: Labor, Management, and the State in Comparative and Historical Perspective, R. Sil and C. Candland, eds. (Oxford University Press, 2001).

Cadres and Corruption: the Organizational Involution of the Chinese Communist Party, (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000).

Promise and Problems of Old and New Democracies, editor (New York: The Academy of Political Science, 2000).

"Taxation without Representation: Chinese State and Peasants in the New Reform Era," with T. Bernstein, The China Quarterly, No. 163 (September, 2000): 111-32.

"Booty Socialism, Bureau-preneurs, and the State in Transition: Organizational Corruption in China," Comparative Politics Vol. 32, No. 3 (2000): 273-294.

"The Political Foundation of Chinese Style Gradualism: A Paradox of Too Strong Private Interests," with C. Henning, Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics Vol. 156, No. 1 (2000): 35-59.

"Organizational Involution and Sociopolitical Reform in China," with L. Dittmer,Informal Politics in East Asia, L. Dittmer, H. Fukui, and P. Lee, eds. (Cambridge University Press, 2000).

"Transition from State Socialism and State-Labor Relations in China," inGlobalization and the Dilemmas of the State in the South, F. Adams, S. Gupta and K. Mengisteab, eds., Macmillan, (1999): 251-73.

"From Rank-Seeking to Rent-Seeking: Changing Administrative Ethos and Corruption in Reform China," Crime, Law and Social Change Vol. 32, No. 4 (1999): 347-70.

"The Politics of Peasant Burden in Reform China," Journal of Peasant Studies, v.25, n.1 (1997), pp. 113-38.

"Structural Transformation of the Chinese Work Unit: Macropolitical Implications of Micropolitical Change" (with Lowell Dittmer), China Studies, n.3, (Spring 1997), pp. 111-43.

"Enterprise Paternalism and Transition to Market Socialism: the Political Economy of State Sector Reform in Former State Socialist Systems," Mondes en Développement, n.99 (1997), pp. 41-56.

Updated September 10, 2012 by Nell Dillon-Ermers



Academic Focus: 

Political economy of transition from state socialism
Political corruption and governance
Chinese politics and society


Selected syllabi are available on-line.

POLS V 1501 Introduction to Comparative Politics

POLS BC 3425 Colloquium: Politics of Development in the World

POLS BC 3500 Colloquium: Political Economy of Corruption and its Control

POLS V 3620 Introduction to Contemporary Chinese Politics

POLS W 4435 Political Corruption and Governance

POLS BC 3761 Senior Research Seminar in Comparative Politics

POLS G 8471 Chinese Politics in Comparative Perspective (CU graduate course)

Fall 2013 - Spring 2014



At Barnard
Tel 212.854.4440

At Columbia
Tel 212.854.7912
Fax 212.749.1497

Office Hours: 

On leave academic year 2018-2019


Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley


M.A., Institute of Foreign Affairs, Beijing


B.A., Sichuan Institute of Foreign Languages, China