Edmund, Sheng Li

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Edmund, Li Sheng is the Professor of Political Economy and Public Policy, the Associate Dean (Academic Affairs) of Faculty of Social Sciences, the Interim Head of Department of Economics, Director of Russian Centre, the Programme Coordinator of Master of Arts in European Studies, as well as the PhD Supervisor in Public Administration, Political Science, and Economics, in University of Macau. He is also the University Senate Member, Senate Research Committee Member.[1]
Li Sheng received his PhD from the University of Freiburg, Germany. He is currently a professor of political economy and public policy at the University of Macau. He has published over 40 research papers in SSCI journals, mainly focusing on urban and international political economy . His services include Associate Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences, Senate Member and Director of Russian Center, University of Macau, China. [2]
Professor Sheng Li has made great contributions to the economic development of Macau. Hosted and participated in a number of economic development projects in Macau.

Most Recent Publications[edit]

Journal Articles and Book Chapters[edit]

  • 81 refereed journal articles and book chapters, among which 41 papers published in SSCI listed journals
  • Representative papers
  1. Sheng, L.; Tsui, Y.M. (2009). "Casino Booms and Local Politics: The City of Macao". Cities. 26 (2): 67–73. doi:10.1016/j.cities.2009.01.002. (SSCI Impact Factor: 3.853, 2/40, Urban Studies)
    This paper aims to address two closely related research questions pertaining to Macao’s strategies to develop its gaming industry. First, what is the rational gaming development strategy for the city, given the significant side effects accompanying the ongoing casino boom? Second, why is that rational strategy not being implemented? The authors develop a growth vs. side effects trade-off model to answer the two questions. Theoretically, Macao should choose a moderate strategy instead of a very aggressive one. This is, however, unlikely to happen because of the city’s malfunctioning democratic political system.
  2. Sheng, L.; Tsui, Y.M. (2009). "A General Equilibrium Approach to Tourism and Welfare: The Case of Macao". Habitat International. 33 (4): 419–424. doi:10.1016/j.habitatint.2009.01.002. (SSCI Impact Factor: 3.846, 3/40, Urban Studies)
    Macao has been witnessing spectacular economic growth in recent years. The ongoing boom is mainly driven by rapid tourism growth reflected in massive tourist arrivals and foreign capital inflow. Although Macao is praised as an ‘economic wonder’, serious externalities have emerged, raising concerns about the sustainability of the city's long-term development. Using a modified simple general equilibrium model, this paper shows how economic, social, environmental and political externalities accompanying rapid tourism growth may possibly reduce the net welfare of host communities. The paper concludes that comprehensive tourism policies leading to a sustainable development should be developed in a broader social framework.
  3. Sheng, L. (2011). "Taxing Tourism and Subsidizing Non-tourism: A Welfare-Enhancing Solution to 'Dutch Disease'?". Tourism Management. 32 (5): 1223–1228. doi:10.1016/j.tourman.2010.09.009. (SSCI Impact Factor: 6.012, 2/52, Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism)
    Using a combined analysis of a general equilibrium and a partial equilibrium, this study models the impacts of a combined policy tool based on taxing tourism and subsidizing non-tourism in a tourism-dependent destination. The results suggest that such a policy tool, while widely discussed in economics literature, may not be suitable for a tourism destination, as it might have adverse effects on local welfare.
  4. Sheng, L. (2011). "Theorizing Free Capital Mobility: A Perspective on Developing Economies". Tourism Management. 37 (5): 2519–2534. doi:10.1017/S0260210510001610. (SSCI Impact Factor: 1.791, 24/91, International Relations)
    Using a simple economic model, this article illustrates the greatly diverging interests and preferences of developed and developing countries with regards to capital mobility. Theoretically, developed countries' gain from free capital mobility likely comes at the expense of risk and loss for developing countries due to the latter's financial vulnerability. It is also found that it does not pay for a developed country to push its developing counterparts into prematurely liberalising their capital markets because this type of impatience reduces the developed country's own first-mover advantage in strategic bargaining for capital mobility benefits.
  5. Sheng, L. (2013). "Free Capital Mobility and Sustainable Community Development: A Theoretical Framework". Habitat International. 40 (4): 278–284. doi:10.1016/j.habitatint.2013.06.003. (SSCI Impact Factor: 3.846, 3/40, Urban Studies)
    This research considers the adverse effects of massive inflows of foreign capital.
    It models the effect of foreign expansion at expense of local sustainability.
    The paper considers strategic bargaining for openness.
    It concludes with policies conducive to sustainable urban development.
    Although most economists defend the role of foreign investment in global development as positive, a number of tourism geography studies present divergent views on the impact of foreign investment on host communities. To examine this issue, this study develops a simple model to show that liberal economic doctrines tend to shape policies in host communities, thus generating a higher degree of openness to foreign factors of production than is optimal. It treats the openness of a host community to foreign investment as a practical dimension, examining how foreign investors and host communities can negotiate and share the benefits of capital flows from projects with foreign investment. Foreign investors have the first-mover advantage in bargaining with host communities for full openness. However, the impatience of foreign investors can cause them to act against their own interests when faced with the reluctance of host communities to open further because of weak physical, economic, and institutional infrastructures those areas.
  6. Sheng, L. (2014). "Capital Controls and International Development: A Theoretical Reconsideration". Global Policy. 5 (1): 114–120. doi:10.1111/1758-5899.12081. (SSCI Impact Factor: 1.197, 53/91, International Relations)
    This survey article develops a stochastic framework to analyze capital inflows and outflows and to illustrate how a developing economy can determine its level of capital account openness and simultaneously balance concerns regarding economic growth and volatility. We find that rapid economic growth inevitably causes fluctuations in a financially immature economy that has a high level of capital account openness. We identify a conflict of interest between capital‐rich and capital‐importing economies when capital account liberalization is promoted by the former.
  7. Sheng, L. (2015). "Theorizing Income Inequality in the Face of Financial Globalization". The Social Science Journal. 52 (3): 415–424. doi:10.1016/j.soscij.2014.06.003. Unknown parameter |s2cid= ignored (help) (SSCI Impact Factor: 1.071, 64/104, Social Science Interdisciplinary)
    Based on an extended post-Keynesian model, we find that the association between the savings rate and income inequality is negative if savers’ funds are borrowed by spending households for consumption but positive if savings are channeled to investing firms for production. A negative association, such as the one that exists in the U.S., hinges on an income illusion created by an asset bubble and cheap credit. Thus, financial globalization leads consumption and income inequality to diverge, and the divergence is more extreme if lower-income groups have higher debt ratios. A positive association, such as the one that exists in China, relates to liquidity constraints faced by consumers such that consumption inequality closely follows income inequality. Our results imply that income inequality must be reduced in both types of countries to increase savings in deficit economies with negative associations and to reduce savings in surplus economies with positive associations.
  8. Sheng, L. (2016). "Explaining the Transformation of Urban Island Politics: The Case of Macau". Island Studies Journal. 11 (2): 521–536. (http://www.islandstudies.ca/sites/islandstudies.ca/files/ISJ-11-2-MS362-LiSheng.pdf) (SSCI Impact Factor: 1.377, 49/104, Social Science Interdisciplinary)
    This paper focuses on the island city of Macau as Europe’s last Asian colony and one of China’s special administrative regions (SARs) that enjoys a high degree of autonomy. The author traces the root cause of the current social discontent and political dilemma in the face of Macau’s post-colonial casino boom and economic miracle. The study finds that Macau’s islandness, smallness and geographic location significantly affect the island city’s urban political culture. While Macau shares similarities with other island cities across the world, as a Chinese casino city under Portuguese administration for more than 400 years, certain unique features have also developed.
  9. Sheng, L. (2017). "Explaining Urban Economic Governance: The City of Macao". Cities. 61 (2016): 96–180. doi:10.1016/j.cities.2016.08.011. (SSCI Impact Factor: 3.853, 2/40, Urban Studies)
    From Europe's last Asian colony to China's Special Administrative Region.
    Social discontent in the face of casino boom.
    Institutional flaws inherited from Portuguese colonial regime.
    Limited regulatory capacity and inability to reform due to urban island culture
    This paper traces the root causes of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) government's inability to regulate the city's major economic issues. This regulatory deficiency can be partly attributed to the city's 500 years of Portuguese colonial rule, although some of the problems have been caused by the casino boom, which began with the liberalization of Macao's gaming industry, and the government's failure to cope with ensuing dramatic changes. From a historical and institutional perspective, the author illustrates and analyzes the dynamic relationship between economic regulation and urban politics on a rapidly growing urban island facing various governance challenges.
  10. Sheng, L.; Li, T.; Wang, J. (2017). "Tourism and Externalities in an Urban Context: Theoretical Model and Empirical Evidence". Cities. 70 (2017): 40–45. doi:10.1016/j.cities.2017.06.012. (SSCI Impact Factor: 3.853, 2/40, Urban Studies)
    Different optimal tradeoffs between growth and externalities given diverging tourism carrying capacity
    Empirical evidence of traffic congestion and water supply from Macao and Hong Kong
    Absorbing external shocks by large tourist cities through aggressive tourism development strategy
    Correcting externalities to ensure long-term urban development in small tourist cities
    Although the majority of economists defend the positive role of tourism growth in global development, a number of tourism geography studies present divergent views on the local impact of tourism overgrowth on host communities. To examine the issue, this study develops a simple theoretical framework to illustrate that liberal economic doctrines shape host communities' policy-making towards a higher degree of inbound tourism than is optimal without considering the externalities accompanying tourism booms. Evidence from Macao and Hong Kong shows that massive inflows of tourists in the face of greater tourism openness tend to generate divergent impacts on both cities depending on their physical and socioeconomic conditions and thus lend support to the theoretical predictions.
  11. Sheng, L.; Wan, P. (2017). "Explaining Urban Governance in the Midst of Political Transformation: The City of Macao". Asia Pacific Viewpoint. 58 (3): 289–300. doi:10.1111/apv.12167. (SSCI Impact Factor: 0.864, 29/74, Area Studies)
    This paper takes a close look at the urban governance and political culture of Macao, the world largest casino city. Macao has experienced spectacular economic growth since gaming liberalisation in 2002 and China's Free Individual Travel scheme launched in 2003. However, the booming gaming sector has crowded out other sectors of Macao. It has not only made the city's economy mono‐structured and consequently extremely vulnerable to external shocks and fluctuations but also induced serious social divisions and political controversies within the local community. By tracing the root cause of the ongoing dilemma and crisis in the mode of governance, the dynamic relationships between formal and informal institutions, consensus politics and the social group culture are intensively discussed in a historical context. In fact, the sustainable development of the former Portuguese colony has largely been hindered by its residents' passive attitudes toward political communication, non‐transparent urban governance, the absence of a middle class and the dominance of pro‐establishment social groups.
  12. Gu, X.H.; Sheng, L.; Yuen, C.Y. (2019). "Inbound tourism, hospitality business, and market structure". Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research. 43 (8): 1326–1335. doi:10.1177/1096348019870574. Unknown parameter |s2cid= ignored (help) (SSCI Impact Factor: 2.849, 13/52, Hospitality, leisure, sport and tourism)
    In this article, a standard model is used to examine the economic effect of market structure in travel destinations. We show that favorable changes in the push and pull factors are good for enhancing local hospitality business to the extent that they stimulate external tourism demand. We also find that rising competition in the hospitality industry, albeit boosting its sales, may have no effect on its revenue but can affect its profitability adversely due to resulting price drops that are desirable only to incoming visitors. Our policy implication is that there is no need to push for competitive industry structure, which is locally inefficient given that hospitality business catering to nonresident tourists is for profit and not for altruism.

Authored/Co-authored Books[edit]

  • 9 authored/co-authored books
  • Representative papers
  1. Sheng, L. (2006). Der Einsatz von Asset Management Companies zur Loesung notleidender Kredite im chinesischen Bankensystem. Freiburg/Berlin: Rombach Verlag. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png(https://www.rombach-verlag.de/buecher/wissenschaft/rombach/buch/details/der-einsatz-von-asset-management-corporations-zur-loesung-des-problems-der-notleidenden-kredite-im-c.html)
    The high volume of non-performing loans from state banks harbors considerable risks for the continuation of the Chinese growth process. The decision-makers have therefore initiated numerous reform measures to strengthen the financial sector. The establishment of special institutes to take over the non-performing loans of the largest state-owned commercial banks is considered a crucial instrument. In order to solve the problem it is essential that these institutes are provided with sufficient capital. The Chinese government has the choice between two alternatives that are very different in their effect: Fiscal financing from the state budget or monetary financing from the central bank. In the present work, the author compares the employment, foreign trade and political-economic consequences of both approaches. After weighing the arguments against the background of the institutional and economic characteristics of the Chinese economy, he sees a clear preponderance of the advantages of money supply financing.
  2. Hao, Y.; Sheng, L.; Pan, G. (2017). Political Economy of Macao since 1999: Dilemma of its Success. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png (https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9789811031373)
    This book takes a comprehensive look at the governance and civil society of Macao, the shadowy mecca of gambling in Asia, and the reforms, changes, and social movements which are challenging that reputation today. Thanks to the rapid expansion of the local casino industry, Macao has experienced spectacular economic growth since it returned to Chinese rule in 1999. Following double-digit rates of economic growth between 2002 and 2013, Macao has become one of the wealthiest regions in Asia, with GDP per capita rising from USD$14,258 in 2001 to USD$89,333 in 2014. However, as the casino industry has overshadowed all other sectors of the local economy, it has not only made Macao’s economy highly vulnerable and difficult to sustain, but has also aroused increasing social discontent. The authors lay out a comprehensive and well-argued discussion of the dilemma of the economic monoculture, and strategies by which to overcome it, in the process producing a book that will be of profound interest to scholars of greater China, students of political economy, and travelers to Macao.
  3. Sheng, L.; Nascimento, D. (2021). Love and Trade War – China and the U.S. in Historical Context. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png (https://www.palgrave.com/gp/book/9789813348967)
    This book puts the trade war between the United States and China in historical context. Exploring the dynamics of isolation and internal reform from a Chinese perspective, the author draws upon valuable insights from China's years of isolation prior to the famous Nixon-Mao summit. Advocating internal reform as a more productive strategy than conflict with other powers, this powerful argument for globalization with Chinese characteristics will be of interest to scholars of China, economists, and political scientists.

Newspaper/Magazine Articles[edit]

  • 85 newspaper/magazine articles

Research Projects[edit]

  • 24 research projects
  • Selected projects
  1. “The European Socio-economic Model and Its Reform”, Institute of European Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and Department of Economics, University of Freiburg, commissioned by European Commission, 2005-2007
  2. "Economic and Legal Study on Macao Land for Macao People", Macao Polytechnic Institute (MPI), Commissioned by the Secretary of Transport and Public Works, 2013, Principal Investigator
  3. "Social-political Impacts of Foreign Casinos in Macao", Macao Polytechnic Institute (MPI), Commissioned by Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Macao SAR, 2014, Principal Investigator
  4. "Urban Development Strategy of Macao", Central Policy Unit, Macao SAR government, commissioned by the Chief Executive, 2016-2017
  5. "Planning and Management of Macao Maritime Jurisdiction", Central Policy Unit, Macao SAR Government, commissioned by the Chief Executive, 2017-2018
  6. "Research on Industrial Diversification in Macao's New Reclamation Area", Central Policy Unit, Macao SAR Government, commissioned by the Chief Executive, 2018-2019
  7. “A Political Economy Analysis of Economic Imbalances in the Post-crisis Era”, University of Macau Senate Research Committee, 2016-2018, principal investigator
  8. “Formal and Informal Politics in Urban Islands:The Case of Macao.“ University of Macau Senate Research Committee,2019-2020,principal investigator
  9. “Structure, Equality and Saving: Analyzing Sino-US Economic Imbalances.” University of Macau Senate Research Committee,2020-2021,principal investigator
  10. "Prominent problems faced by Hengqin cooperative development and their solutions", Commissioned by The Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council (Key Research Project for 20th Anniversary of Macao's handover to China), 2019, Principal Investigator


  • First Prize (Research Paper Category), The 3rd Outstanding Achievement Awards for Macao Research in Humanities and Social Sciences, 2013
  • Second Prize (Research Paper Category), The 4th Outstanding Achievement Awards for Macao Research in Humanities and Social Sciences, 2016
  • Faculty Excellent Research Incentive Scheme Awardee, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Macau, 2017
  • Faculty Community Services Award, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Macau, 2019
  • First Prize (Research Paper Category), The 5th Outstanding Achievement Awards for Macao Research in Humanities and Social Sciences, 2019
  • Hong Kong and Macao Special Recommendation List, The 8th Ministry of Education Scientific Research Outstanding Achievement Award (Humanities and Social Sciences), 2019
  • Faculty Services Award, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Macau, 2020

Selected Membership and Services[edit]

  • Urban Affairs Association
  • European Association of Evolutionary Political Economy
  • Regional Studies Association International
  • International Studies Association
  • Chinese Association of Hong Kong & Macao Studies (CAHKMS)
  • Economic Development Committee, Macao SAR Government
  • Public Services and Organizational Performance Evaluation Committee, Macao SAR Government
  • Member of Board of Directors, Macau Urban Renewal Ltd. (appointed by the Chief Executive)
  • Member of Board of Directors, Zhuhai Hengqin Macau New Neighborhood Development Co. Ltd.
  • Council Member, Escola Superior das Forças de Segurança de Macau (ESFSM)


Professor Sheng has been residing in Macao since 1990s, and he masters Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese Chinese, German, and English. Professor Sheng Li has made great contributions to the economic development of Macau. Hosted and participated in a number of economic development projects in Macau.

He calls for urban planning to improve ability to deal with floods and wind disasters, as well as believes that in the future urban planning of Macao, we must attach great importance to preventing floods and wind disasters, especially in setting up tide gates and flood prevention, and we must raise the response standards. He also said that the underground drainage systems in Japan and Qingdao are perfect, which can be used as a reference for Macao. Shengli also stated that the relevant disaster prevention technology in the Mainland is now mature and can cooperate with relevant experts and Mainland institutions to build a forecasting system.[3]
Sheng Li believes that in the higher education field of the next year’s policy address, the report will focus more on the cultivation of Portuguese-speaking talents. It is clearly necessary to promote the construction of a “Chinese-Portuguese bilingual talent training base”. Greater capital investment and policy support. He specifically mentioned that he hopes to improve the Portuguese language foundation of middle school students. The government must play a leading role and cannot completely wait for market orientation.
The content of higher education in the policy address is not long. Compared with the last two reports, the content is not necessarily new. Shengli believes that although the content is consistent on the surface, there is progress in each item.
Regardless of non-tertiary or higher education, Portuguese-speaking education is one of the priorities of next year's policy. Promoting Macau to become a training base for Portuguese-speaking talents in the Asia-Pacific region means that Macau not only trains local bilingual talents, but also needs to cooperate with the development of the country, give full play to the advantages of the language environment, and cultivate Portuguese-speaking professionals and international cultural exchanges for the mainland and other international partners.
Shengli supports the construction of a team of teachers who give priority to Portuguese language education. The Institute of Technology will offer a Portuguese language education degree program, and the University of Australia will offer a master's degree in Portuguese language teaching as a second language. It is believed that the two universities can develop in the wrong place in cultivating teachers. Colleges and universities should pay attention to Portuguese language teaching, improve the courses of Chinese-Portuguese translation and Portuguese language majors, and hope that basic education will be strengthened to improve the quality of the source of students in universities. "Portuguese is only a small language, and relatively speaking, it is a weak language.[4]

Member of Board of Directors at Zhuhai Hengqin Macau New Neighborhood Development Co. Ltd.


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