James Z. Lee

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Cameron Campbell and James Lee. [http://ssh.dukejournals.org/content/32/2/175.abstract Kin Networks, Marriage, and Social Mobility in Late Imperial China

Abstract: To assess claims about the role of the extended family in late imperial Chinese society, we examine the influence of kin network characteristics on marriage, reproduction, and attainment in Liaoning Province in Northeast China in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. We compare the influences on outcomes of the number and status of different types of kin as well as the seniority of the individual within each type of kin group. We find that the characteristics of kin outside the household did matter for individual outcomes but that patterns of effects were nuanced. While based on our results we concur that kin networks were important units of social and economic organization in late imperial China, we conclude that their role was complex.

Recent Publications, Kinship and Demography


The China Multi-Generational Panel Dataset - Liaoning (CMGPD-LN) has 1.5 million triennial observations of more than 260,000 residents from approximately 698 communities in the northeast Chinese province of Liaoning between 1749 and 1909. The data provide socioeconomic, demographic, and other characteristics for individuals, households, and communities, and record demographic outcomes such as marriage, reproduction and death as well as detailed multi generational kin information.

CMGPD-LN), 1749-1909 DSDR Dataset

ICPSR Data fair. Principal Investigator(s): Lee, James Z.; Campbell, Cameron D.

Summary: The China Multi-Generational Panel Dataset - Liaoning (CMGPD-LN) is drawn from the population registers compiled by the Imperial Household Agency (neiwufu) in Shengjing, currently the northeast Chinese province of Liaoning, between 1749 and 1909. It provides 1.5 million triennial observations of more than 260,000 residents from 698 communities. The population mainly consists of immigrants from North China who settled in rural Liaoning during the early eighteenth century, and their descendants.

Sam Clark, Elizabeth Colson, James Lee and Thayer Scudder. 1995. Ten Thousand Tonga: A Longitudinal Anthropological Study from Southern Zambia 1956–1991. Population Studies 49: 91–109.

Pages 95-96: "We have organized the demographic analysis into three time periods based on the different effects associated with involuntary resettlement, economic expansion, and economic decline. The first period, the 'Period of Stress' was dominated by involuntary resettlement from 1956 to 1962. This was followed by a 'Period of Prosperity', from 1963 to 1973, associated with the coming of political independence, and marked by rising living standards and economic growth. Government services expanded, with the provision of roads, schools, medical clinics, and agricultural extension. In addition, a highly profitable fishery sprang up around Lake Kariba by the 1960s. Educational and job opportunities increased considerably, creating an educated elite. These good years, however, ended in the mid-1970s. The major cause was the increasing bankruptcy of Zambia's political economy with the concomitant decline in public services and employment, and subsequent decrease in labour migration, all of which contributed to a precipitous degradation of Gwembe living conditions. Simultaneously, the war for Zimbabwean independence, waged throughout the 1970s, destabilized the Gwembe. Moreover, a series of natural disasters, beginning in the 1980s, intensified this 'Period of Decline'. By 1990, the mean income per head in Zambia as a whole was less than it was in 1970. Indeed, incomes have fallen so much that in Zambia today the proportion of rural population living below the poverty line is one of the highest in the world. Such severe economic decline has resulted in community unraveling during the 1980s in the most seriously affected villages in the Gwembe. As the standard of living has dropped, the incidence of violence and prevalence of accusations of sorcery rose. In addition, the consumption of alcohol increased; and reports of alcohol-related violence, including murder, have become common. The government's growing inability to provide health services allowed the re-emergence of measles and an increase in the incidence of malaria, tuberculosis, schistosomiasis, and other parasitic diseases. During the last decade drug-resistant strains of malaria and tuberculosis have become common. In 1983, the first documented cases of AIDS appeared in Zambia; and in 1989, cholera appeared in the Gwembe for the first time."


James Z. Lee and Wang Feng. 1999. One Quarter of Humanity, Malthusian Mythology and Chinese Realities 1700-2000. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 1999.

Bengtsson, Tommy, Cameron D. Campbell, and James Z. Lee. 2004. Life under Pressure : Mortality and Living Standards in Europe and Asia, 1700-1900. Boston, Mass : MIT Press.

Abstract. The authors examine the complex relationship between human behavior and social and economic environment, analyzing age, gender, family, kinship, social class and social organization, climate, food prices, and real wages to compare mortality responses to adversity. Their research at the individual, household, and community levels challenges the previously accepted characterizations of social and economic behavior in Europe and Asia in the past. The originality of the analysis as well as the geographic breadth and historical depth of the data make Life Under Pressure a significant advance in the field of historical demography. Its findings will be of interest to scholars in economics, environmental studies, demography, history, and sociology as well as the general reader interested in these subjects.
Winner of the 2005 Outstanding Book on Asia Award, presented by the Asian and Asian-American Studies Section of the American Sociological Association.
see also Tommy Bengtsson, Geraldine P. Mineau (Editors). 2008. Kinship and Demographic Behavior in the Past. (International Studies in Population) [Hardcover]

van Poppel, F. W. A., Michel Oris, and James Z. Lee. 2004. The Road to Independence : Leaving Home in Western and Eastern Societies, 16th-20th Centuries. New York : Peter Lang. Abstract.

Ding, Yizhuang, Shenyang Guo, James Z. Lee, and Cameron D. Campbell. 2003. Liaodong yimin de qiren shehui (Banner Society and the Settlement of Eastern Liaodong). Shanghai: Shanghai shehui kexue chubanshe.

Liu, Ts'ui-jung, James Z. Lee, David S. Reher, Osamu Saito, and Feng Wang. 2001. Asian Population History. Oxford University Press. Abstract.

Lee, James Z. 2000. The Political Economy of a Frontier: Southwest China, 1250-1850. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press. Abstract.

book session 2010 SSHA]

Journal Articles

Campbell, Cameron D., and James Z. Lee. 2008. "Kin networks, marriage, and social mobility in late imperial China." Social Science History, 32(2): 175-214. DOI. Abstract.