Jean C. Oi is the William Haas Professor in Chinese Politics in the department of political science and a Senior Fellow of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. She is the founding director of the Stanford China Program at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center. Professor Oi also is the founding Lee Shau Kee Director of the Stanford Center at Peking University.
A PhD in political science from the University of Michigan, Oi first taught at Lehigh University and later in the department of government at Harvard University before joining the Stanford faculty in 1997.
Her work focuses on comparative politics, with special expertise on political economy and the process of reform in transitional systems. Oi has written extensively on China's rural politics and political economy. Her State and Peasant in Contemporary China (University of California Press, 1989) examined the core of rural politics in the Mao period—the struggle over the distribution of the grain harvest—and the clientelistic politics that ensued. Her Rural China Takes Off (University of California Press, 1999) examined the property rights necessary for development and showed how "local state corporatism" facilitated rapid growth of rural industry. Recent publications include Growing Pains: Tensions and Opportunity in China's Transformation (Brookings Institution Press, 2010), co-edited with Scott Rozelle and Xueguang Zhou; and “Development Strategies and Poverty Reduction in China,” in Yusuf Bangura, ed., The Developmental Road to Poverty Reduction, (2015); and “Rural Development,” in David S. Goodman, ed., Handbook of the Politics of China (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2015).