FSI researchers work to understand continuity and change in societies as they confront their problems and opportunities. This includes the implications of migration and human trafficking. What happens to a society when young girls exit the sex trade? How do groups moving between locations impact societies, economies, self-identity and citizenship? What are the ethnic challenges faced by an increasingly diverse European Union? From a policy perspective, scholars also work to investigate the consequences of security-related measures for society and its values.

The Europe Center reflects much of FSI’s agenda of investigating societies, serving as a forum for experts to research the cultures, religions and people of Europe. The Center sponsors several seminars and lectures, as well as visiting scholars.

Societal research also addresses issues of demography and aging, such as the social and economic challenges of providing health care for an aging population. How do older adults make decisions, and what societal tools need to be in place to ensure the resulting decisions are well-informed? FSI regularly brings in international scholars to look at these issues. They discuss how adults care for their older parents in rural China as well as the economic aspects of aging populations in China and India.

Recent Scholarly Publications

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Academic Achievement and Mental Health of Left-behind Children in Rural China

November 2019

Purpose – China’s rapid pace of urbanization has resulted in millions of rural residents migrating from rural areas to urban areas for better job opportunities.

Gender and Off-farm Employment: Evidence from Rural China

July 2016

Abstract: The goal of the present paper is to examine how the expansion of the economy from 2000 has affected rural off-farm labor market participation.

The Han-Minority Achievement Gap, Language and Returns to Schools in Rural China

January 2015

The goal of this article was to document and explain the gap in educational achievement between Han and minority students in primary schools in western China.

Effect of Migration on Children's Educational Performance in Rural China

December 2014

Migration is one of the main ways of alleviating poverty in developing countries, including China.

Road Expansion and Off-Farm Work in Rural China

July 2014

This study estimates the impact of road expansion on off-farm activities in rural China.

The Concept of Public Goods, the State, and Higher Education Finance: A View from the BRICs

February 2014

Because higher education serves both public and private interests, the way it is conceived and financed is contested politically, appearing in different forms in different societies.

Will Demographic Change Slow China's Rise?

August 2013

China’s 2010 census revealed a population of 1.34 billion, 50 percent urban, 13.3 percent above age sixty, and with 118.06 boys born for every 100 girls.

University Expansion in a Changing Global Economy: Triumph of the BRICs?

July 2013

The impact of teacher training on teacher and student outcomes: evidence from a randomized experiment in Beijing migrant schools

July 2013

This article exploits a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the impact of an intensive, short-term inservice teacher training program on the performance of English teachers in Beijing migrant...

Eggs versus Chewable Vitamins: Which Intervention Can Increase Nutrition and Test Scores in Rural China?

March 2013


Does women's knowledge of voting rights affect their voting behavior in village elections? Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in China

February 2013

Officials in China claim that voting rates in rural village elections are high. Unfortunately, these rates are assumptions, not facts. The true voting rate is lower, and much lower for women.

School Dropouts and Conditional Cash Transfers: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in Rural China’s Junior High Schools

December 2012

Recent anecdotal reports suggest that dropout rates may be higher and actually increasing over time in poor rural areas.

Parental Training, Anemia and the Impact on the Nutrition of Female Students in China’s Poor Rural Elementary Schools

December 2012

In this paper we report the results of a randomized controlled trial designed to measure the impact of a parental training program on the nutritional status of primary school students in rural...

The Distribution of Financial Aid in China: Is Aid Reaching Poor Students?

December 2012

China's central government incrementally introduced various kinds of student financial aid since the late 1990s in response to public concerns about the rising burden of college prices.

Dropping Out: Why Are Students Leaving Junior High in China’s Poor Rural Areas?

July 2012

Despite both requirements of and support for universal education up to grade 9, there are concerning reports that China is still suffering from high and maybe even rising dropout rates in some poor...

Transfer Paths and Academic Performance: The Primary School Merger Program in China

May 2012

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, China’s Ministry of Education embarked on an ambitious program of elementary school mergers by shutting down small village schools and opening up larger...

Persistent Poverty in Rural China: Where, Why, and How to Escape?

April 2012

Using rural household panel data from three Chinese provinces, this paper identifies determinants of long-term poverty and tests the duration dependence on the probability to leave poverty.

The Limits of Health and Nutrition Education: Evidence from Three Randomized Controlled Trials in Rural China

April 2012

In this paper we present new evidence on the impact of health and nutrition information on anemia rates from three large-scale randomized controlled trials (RCTs) in rural China.

Behind Before They Begin: The Challenge of Early Childhood Education in Rural China

March 2012

The main goal of this paper is to analyze the factors (access, attendance and quality of preschools) that may be affecting the educational readiness of China’s rural children before they enter the...

The Effects of Attending Selective College Tiers in China

March 2012

We estimate the effects of attending the first versus second-tier of higher education institutions on Chinese students’ at-college and expected post-college outcomes using various quasi...

253- The Economic Returns to Higher Education in the BRIC Countries and Their Implications for Higher Education Expansion

January 2012

What is Keeping the Poor out of College? Enrollment Rates, Educational Barriers and College Matriculation in China

December 2011

Opportunities to go to college and earn a degree have risen dramatically in China.

Early Commitment on Financial Aid and College Decision Making of Poor Students: Evidence from Randomized Evaluation in Rural China

December 2011

Many educational systems have struggled with the question about how best to give out financial aid.


alexis   good Alexis Medina Associate Director, SCCEI
Headshot of Matthew Boswell. Matthew Boswell Associate Director, SCCEI