Policy Forum

The CFDS publishes roughly bimonthly Policy Forums on current political and economic issues. Articles in our Policy Forum series are commentaries on current political issues. They reflect the opinion of the authors and – although researched to our best knowledge – are not scientific papers. If there are CFDS papers on related issues, they will be referred to in the text.

Policy Forum 3 (July 2018)

Students of economics and business learn the fundamentals of game theory that enable them to make rational decisions in complex situations with strategic interaction. However, for most Chinese students this introduction comes too late. When they enter college, they have already participated in the complex high-stakes game of college admission.

Every year about 10 million Chinese high school students take the National Higher Education Entrance Examination, the so-called gaokao. The Chinese colleges and universities have the capacity to accept about 6 million of them. In 1952, the very first gaokao exam took place. In addition, college admission was centralized and this was already a great improvement compared to the previous system of decentralized admission by individual colleges.

Read the full article (in English and Chinese)


Policy Forum 2 (May 2018) 


After more than a year in office US president Trump’s antics are keeping everybody – from politicians over journalists to scientists – on edge. It is undeniable that he is indeed creating a new world order. Rules that everybody had come to accept as God-given are suddenly challenged.

However, while enjoying his presumed success Trump is actually and unwittingly building a world where the US are not at all “great again” but simply obsolete. Trump is subject to a mistake that sounds like semantic hairsplitting but could not be of greater relevance. Trump seems to believe that the influence of the US is built on its (military and economic) prowess. Yet, what the US role is truly founded on is the trust in this prowess and how the US is going to use it. Exploiting the US power to gain the upper hand in negotiations with both competitors and the US’ closest allies is undermining that trust.

Read the full article (in English and Chinese)

Policy Forum 1 (March 2018) 


Since the inauguration of president Trump, his protectionist rhetoric has been anxiously eyed by observers around the globe. It already became apparent, that this protectionist agenda is more than just empty campaign threats when he withdrew the American signature to TPP as one of his first policy measures in his very first week in office.

Yet, the international community remained fairly calm, mostly trusting in the WTO to prevent steps that might actually reverse the trend towards more free trade, rather than just slowing it down. Therefore, although the Trump administration has been investigating tariffs on steel and aluminum since early 2017, the actual decision to go through with those plans was met by an international uproar.


Read the full article (in English and Chinese)



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