Dr. P.V. Viswanath



Economics/Finance on the Web
Student Interest

  Courses / FIN 396T - ECO 375 /  

FIN 396T/ECO 375: The Chinese Financial System Spring 2014

23586 (FIN 396T)/ 23801 (ECO 375): Thursdays 9 am to 12 noon at the New York Campus, Room W512
Email: pviswanath@pace.edu Tel: (212) 618-6518
Webpage: http://webpage.pace.edu/pviswanath
Blackboard: http://blackboard.pace.edu

Office W416, Pace New York
Office hours:

3:30-6:00 pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
Note:  I am in my office in New York most days of the week; e-mail me if you want to see me at other times.


Course Objectives

This course helps students achieve the following learning objectives.

  • a) understand how the Chinese financial system functions
  • b) understand how it relates to the political system, and
  • c) be able to speculate in an intelligent way on future developments in the Chinese financial landscape.

Course Text

Many of the books and materials that you will need for this course are available as e-books. To learn more about e-books and how to access them, visit the Pace Library website. You can find a list of e-books available through Pace at that same website. The following texts that we will use, can be obtained through the Pace Library as e-books:

  • Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom, “China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know,” New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Rongxing Guo, "An introduction to the Chinese economy : the driving forces behind modern day China," Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley, 2010.
  • Richard McGregor, The Party: the secret world of China's communist rulers, New York, NY: Harper, 2010.
  • Kwek Ping Yong, Private Equity in China: Challenges and Opportunities, Singapore: John Wiley and Sons, 2012.
  • Shah, Angilee; Wasserstrom, Jeffrey; and Mishra, Pankaj. Chinese Characters: Profiles of Fast-Changing Lives in a Fast-Changing Land, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  • Cousin, Violaine, Banking in China, 2nd edition, New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2011.
  • Martha Avery, Min Zhu and Jinqing Cai (eds.) China's Emerging Financial Markets, John Wiley and Sons, 2011

The following materials are available on reserve at the library:

  • Carl Walter and Fraser Howie, Red Capitalism.  The Fragile Foundation of China’s Extraordinary Rise, Singapore: John Wiley and Sons, 2011.
  • Peter Hessler, Country Driving: A journey through China from farm to factory, New York: Harper, 2010
  • Xiaolong Qiu, Years of Red Dust, New York: St. Martin's Press, 2010.
    I like Xiaolong Qiu for his detective stories set in Shanghai, but this book is a collection of short stories that trace the changes in modern China over fifty years - from the early days of the Communist revolution in 1949 to the modernization movement of the late ninties - all from the perspective of one small street in Shanghai, Red Dust Lane.
  • Barry Naughton, "The Chinese Economy: Transitions and Growth," Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007.
    Provides a very good discussion of all aspects of the Chinese economy, though not of the financial system.
  • Still Life, directed by Zhangke Jia, 2006.
    This movie gives you a very good picture of some of the changes that are roiling urban and rural China. It provides the background for understanding the financial and economic system.

Additional Recommended Texts:

  • Kellee Tsai, Back-Alley Banking: Private Entrepreneurs in China, Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2004.
  • James Barth, John A. Tatom and Glenn Yago (eds.) China’s Emerging Financial markets: Challenges and Opportunities, New York: Springer, 2009

Other materials can be obtained either on electronic reserve at the library website or on Blackboard.

How to Study for this Course:

  • At the beginning of the course, read my notes on Recurring Themes in Finance.
  • Read the business sections of newspapers with a critical eye.
  • Look for any articles about China and think of how the themes discussed in that article might be related to the functions of a financial system.
  • Read the assigned articles and books carefully, take notes and ask questions in class.

Computer Use and E-mail Policy:

You should obtain a Pace e-mail address as soon as possible, so that I can send you e-mail. Any student's Pace e-mail address can be obtained by going to http://appserv.pace.edu/WhitePages/Students.cfm or by going to the main Pace Home Page and clicking on White Pages from the IntraPace section towards the bottom of the page (the default password is the studentís Pace Identification Number).  More information about e-mail address, etc. can be obtained from the DoIT website and clicking on Computer from the left-hand side menu panel.  Even if you have another e-mail address where you wish to get your e-mail, you should still get a Pace e-mail address.  Once you have your Pace e-mail account and password, you can go to the Pace University Student E-Mail Server at http://stmail.pace.edu and have your e-mail forwarded to your preferred e-mail address.  You can find information on how to have your mail automatically forwarded at the DoIT websiteThe only way that I can communicate with you is through your Pace e-mail account.  So please get your Pace account information as soon as possible.

Check your e-mail and the FIN 396T/ECO 375 website on a regular basis.  This will enable you to get the maximum from the course. I am available for consultation by e-mail at pviswanath@pace.edu. I check my e-mail practically every day, and, in most cases, you should get a speedy response to any questions.  

We will also be using Blackboard as a gateway for some aspects of the course.  Please log in to Blackboard at the earliest opportunity.    Blackboard login procedures can be found on the appropriate Blackboard site.  Essentially, your login ID for Blackboard will be your email ID, and your password will be your 9-digit social security number.  

Course Requirements

Class Attendance and Participation

Class attendance is mandatory.  This is for two reasons. One, I believe that you will understand the material much better if you attend the class sessions; two, modifications to the class schedule will be announced in class and/or on the BlackBoard website.  More importantly, classroom participation is an essential part of this course. By participation, I mean answering questions and making intelligent comments. Furthermore, students will work in groups on at least half of the class meetings. On occasion, I will also conduct classroom exercises, give short quizzes, or assign additional work. If you miss a class session during which we have such a classroom exercise, or additional work is assigned, your grade will be adversely affected for this reason as well. In any case, you should consult fellow students on what was done during the class time that you missed, and collect handouts for that day's session. Attendance and class participation is sufficiently important for the learning process , that if you miss too many classes, I reserve the right to give you an I or an F, independent of your actual numerical grade.

I also require that you read the Wall Street Journal and/or the business section of the New York Times on a regular basis. Some exam questions will be based on current newspaper and magazine articles that are related to course material. Hence you should cultivate and improve your ability to read newspaper articles critically.  If you do not already subscribe to the Wall Street Journal, you can do so online from the FIN 396T/ECO 375 Home Page.

Working with Teams

I will most likely be assigning one group project, but in any case, it would be a good idea for you to get to know your classmates, study together etc. So, please talk to other students, exchange emails, phone numbers etc. (Please do not use classtime to read your email or do other things unrelated to the class.)

Academic Integrity

Educational institutions should aspire to instill in their students an appreciation for and the practice of ethical conduct.  All students are required to adhere to the statement of academic integrity outlined in the Pace University catalog.  Academic integrity infractions can include, but are not limited to, copying and presenting the work of another as your own, collaborating with others on assignments intended to be done individually, using unauthorized resources such as an instructor's manual to complete assignments, copying the work of others during an exam, and failing to reference the work of others or creating fake references in your assignments.  You may receive a failing grade in any assignment, exam, or course in which an infraction takes place, and you may be suspended or expelled from the school.  When in doubt about what might be considered an academic integrity infraction, the best course of action is to ask your instructor for clarification.

If you're not sure what plagiarism is, take a look at the Purdue Online Writing Lab wesbite. Here is some concise, useful advice from that website: Bottom line, document any words, ideas, or other productions that originate somewhere outside of you. If you need more information on how to avoid plagiarism, you can find it on the Library's website.

Any student taking this course is presumed to agree to abide by the school policy on academic integrity, as described in the Lubin Graduate Catalog. Please obtain a copy of the catalog and familiarize yourself with the policy.

Disability Policy

Pace University believes that it is important for students receive appropriate accommodation for any disability.  To receive accommodation for any disability, students must contact the campus Counseling Center (Pace Plaza, 212-346-1526; Westchester, 914-773-3710).  The Coordinator of Disability Services will:

  • Evaluate the student's medical/learning/psychological documentation
  • If further documentation is necessary, refer the student for appropriate tests
  • Make recommendations for a plan of accommodation
  • Prepare letters for the student arranging for the recommended accommodations.

Course instructors are not authorized to provide any accommodation prior to your arranging for it through the Counseling Center.

School policy regarding disabilities is described in the Lubin Graduate Catalog. Information can also be found on the University webpage.


I am likely to give you assignments over the course of the term. The main purpose of these assignments is to make sure that you understand the material, and to prepare you for the exams. Assignments can be found on the website on the Assignments Page.


There will normally be a midterm exam and a final; any modifications to this will be announced in class. Exams are usually closed book, but I will allow you to bring in one 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper containing only formulas -- nothing else (two sides). More details on the nature of the exams can be found on the FAQ page.  If you miss an exam without being excused, I cannot give you any credit for that exam.  University policy allows make-ups only for serious personal illness or death in the family, for which documentation may be required.  You can look at past exams and solutions on my website; however, the actual format of the exams this term will differ substantially from those of other exams. (Note also that Spring 2014 is the first time that I am teaching this class, so you won't find past exams.). Please bring your own calculators to the exams; however the use of computers, PDAs, graphing calculator, phone calculators or other instruments that can communicate and/or are able to store alphanumeric information is strictly prohibited during the exam. It is your responsibility to verify whether your calculator is allowed, otherwise you will end up in an exam without a calculator. Get in touch with me regarding any question you may have regarding the exams, or the course in general.

Short Quizzes

There may, in addition, be short quizzes. 

Media Articles

On my webpages, you will find recent media articles.  From time to time, I will add to this list.  There are several reasons why you should look regularly at these pages.  

  • I will be posting interesting and recent articles to this directory.  As such, it will be a useful way for you to keep abreast of topical issues (in addition to your regular perusal of the Wall Street Journal.)
  • I will pose questions on the subject matter of several of the articles.  These questions will be good preparation for the media article based questions on the exams.
  • You can draw on the articles for classroom discussions.
  • These articles and the appended questions are useful preparation for job interviews.

The password, necessary to access the Media Articles section, will be announced in class and can also be found at the Blackboard website. In case of emergency, you can contact me for the password.

If you have difficulty in accessing the site and you're using Internet Explorer, you may want to try the following fix: Go to Tools on the Main menu, then choose Internet Options. Then choose Security; after that select Trusted Sites. Then click on sites and add "http://webpage.pace.edu/pviswanath" (make sure that you have unchecked the "Require Server Verification for all sites in this zone").
This should allow you to access the articles by using the correct password.


Your final grade will be determined as follows:

Factor  Impact on grade
Midterm 25%
Final 35%
Quizzes 10%
Assignments/Presentations 25%
Class Participation 10%

Letter grades will be assigned as follows:  

Course Grade Quantitative Class Score
A, A- 90%-100%
B+, B, B- 80%-89.99%
C+, C, C- 70%-79.99%
D, D+ 60-69.99%
F 0-59.99%

Note that the minimum and maximum quantitative scores for plus and minus refinements to the letter grades will be at my discretion. These will be partly determined by the distribution of student scores within each letter grade category.   I place a high value on effort; at my discretion, I will raise your grade one notch if I feel that you have tried hard to satisfy all the requirements of the course.


Students must have satisfied the prerequisite for this course, viz. FIN 260 (for FIN 396T) or ECO 105/ECO 106 (for ECO 375). I will presume complete familiarity with all topics taught in this course.

Data Cards

On the index card handed out in class, please fill in the information requested below.  Make sure to number the item that you are responding to.  Leave space on the top right hand side for a photograph.

  1. Name
  2. Home and Work Phone number; Fax number, if any
  3. Email address, other than at pace.edu (for my convenience).  (Note that I will send you email only to your Pace email address)
  4. Functional expertise/interest in business administration (e.g. accounting, finance, personnel administration)
  5. Work experience, if any (provide particulars of what your duties were)
  6. Previous knowledge of finance (if any)
  7. Interests outside of business management (such as languages, music, etc.)