He was born on December 12, 1944 in Zunyi, Guizhou with family roots in Chaozhou, Guangdong. His maternal grandfather was famed calligrapher and Kuomingtang leader of Shaanxi Shen. Lau has a son, who recently graduated from Gunn High School in Palo Alto, California.
Study and career
He received his secondary education from St. Paul's Co-educational College in Hong Kong, his B.S. degree in Physics and Economics, with Great Distinction, from Stanford University in 1964, and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1966 and 1969 respectively. He joined the faculty of the Department of Economics of Stanford University in 1966 and was promoted to Professor of Economics in 1976. In 1992, he was named the first Kwoh-Ting Li Professor of Economic Development at Stanford University. From 1992 to 1996, he served as a Co-Director of the Asia/Pacific Research Center of Stanford University. From 1997 to 1999, he served as the Director of the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research of Stanford University. His specialized fields are Economic Development, Economic Growth, and the Economies of East Asia, including China. He developed one of the first econometric models of China, in 1966, and has continued to revise and update his model since then.
Lau has been elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa, a member of Tau Beta Pi, a Fellow of the Econometric Society, an Academician of Academia Sinica, a Member of the Conference for Research in Income and Wealth, an Overseas Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge, England, an Honorary Member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and an Academician of the International Eurasian Academy of Sciences. He has been awarded the degree of Doctor of Social Sciences, honoris causa, by the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He has been a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellow and a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences. He is the author or editor of five books and more than one hundred and sixty articles and notes in professional publications.
Lau is active in both academic and professional services. He is an Honorary Research Fellow of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, Shanghai; an Honorary Professor of the Institute of Systems Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Jilin University, Nanjing University, People's University, Shantou University, Southeast University, and the School of Economics and Management, Tsinghua University, Beijing; an International Adviser, National Bureau of Statistics, People's Republic of China and a member of the Board of Directors of the Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, Taipei.
He was appointed Vice-Chancellor of The Chinese University of Hong Kong in June 2004.
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