The plan for a short visit to Leiden is part of the arrangements of the joint research project by Leiden University and Tsinghua University in Beijing. The project is financed by the Netherlands Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences and supported by the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China.

Rent seeking is wide spread in China and it has economic, political and social impact.  Rent seeking in China has hitherto been explained in terms of a number of factors: as a product of Chinese culture which emphasised personal relationship, nepotism and networking; as the reminiscence of the old command economy; or as the result of local protectionism. Yet these arguments fail to account for differences in rent seeking across economic sectors and localities. They also fail to differentiate different kinds of rent seeking and hence their varying implications for the political and market order.

To fill this gap, the project asks what kinds of the institutional and structural factors which create rent and thereafter give rise to widespread rent seeking. We hypothesise that rent seeking is shaped by state configuration, government-business relations, industrial structure, and social ordering of exchange. The project asks how these factors lead to different kinds of rent seeking. More specifically, the project looks at industries which are embedded in different mix of factors and attempts to delineate the various modes of rent seeking and their political and economic consequences.