guage, and geography of ethnic minority groups, including those who live in the grassland areas; these series include (1) an introduction to the minority nationalities of China; (2) introductions to each of the autonomous areas (regions, prefectures, and counties); (3) histories of each minority group; (4) introductions to the language of each minority group; and (5) social science research carried out in the 1950s, but not previously released. Material from the first series has been condensed and translated into English (Ma Yin, 1989). Items from the second, third, and fifth series, which have provided many valuable historical records, research reports, and current statistics related to the grasslands, appear in the second section of the references.
During this period, Chinese scholars and experts in four fields or disciplines have contributed to the study of grasslands:
Natural scientists, working in institutes under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, local academies and universities, especially in the fields of agriculture, animal husbandry, geography, and grassland construction, have published research in university and academic journals. (Scholarship in the natural sciences is reviewed in Chapters 2–7.)
Officials and staff in government offices—for example, the Ministry of Agriculture; the Agricultural Study Center of the State Council; and provincial, prefectural, and county governments—and in Communist Party organizations, such as the Central Committee Office of Agricultural Policies and offices of policy studies under local Party committees, have published reports in newspapers, academic journals, and books.
Economists in universities, institutes under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), and local academies of social sciences, have published studies related to grassland areas that have appeared in university and academic journals. During the first three decades of the People's Republic (1949–1979), economists in China adhered to Marxist economic theories and focused on problems posed by Soviet-style central planning. They studied issues such as the efficient allocation and distribution of resources or ways to organize a command economy, while ignoring questions raised by Western economics, such as household production strategies, risk management, allocation of labor, and the role of competitive markets and prices. Around 1980, this situation began to change. During the past 10 years, Western economic theories and methodologies have been introduced into China and applied to the study of the Chinese economy. Because this period has been brief, however, publications of this type remain limited in both quantity and quality.
Most studies by scholars in groups 2 and 3 have focused on two questions, both of which are directly related to the goal of economic development and the reform policies designed to achieve this result. The first question is, What is the best strategy for developing western China? One school has favored the "step development theory," in which central government investment and sub-