David Bulman is the Jill McGovern and Steven Muller Assistant Professor of China Studies and International Affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). He has two major research interests. First, economic development in China, with a focus on how political incentives and central-local relations shape local economic and governance outcomes. Second, seeking a deeper understanding of global preferences regarding economic engagement with China. His first book, Incentivized Development in China: Leaders, Governance, and Growth in China’s Counties (Cambridge) investigates the political foundations of local economic growth in China, focusing on the institutional and economic roles of county-level leaders and the career incentives that shape their behavior. Bulman was a Woodrow Wilson China Fellow for 2021-2022 and a National Committee on U.S.-China Relations Public Intellectual Program fellow for 2021-2023. Prior to coming to SAIS, he was an Economist at the World Bank and a China Public Policy Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation.  His research has been funded by the World Bank, the Ford Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the SAIS China Yeung Family Scholarship.  He received his MA and PhD from Johns Hopkins SAIS and his BA in Economics from Columbia University.

Last Updated: March 3, 2023



Xi Jinping Says He Wants to Spread China’s Wealth More Equitably. How Likely Is That to Actually Happen?

David Bulman, Wei Cui & more
On the eve of the “Two Sessions,” Xi Jinping’s leadership position is now secure as he embarks on a third term. But China faces severe headwinds in reviving the economy, boosting employment, and managing local government debt. In past crises, China’...