Prof. Pomeranz' studies on late imperial and 20th century China (1368 to the present) focus on the reciprocal influences of state, society and economy on the relative advancement of societies across the world.
He is widely considered one of the "architects of world history", particularly for his most notable book - The Great Divergence: China, Europe, and the Making of the Modern World Economy (2000) - which analyzes the long standing question of why Northwest Europe took off with unprecedented and sustained industrial growth, starting in the late 18th century, while East Asia and the rest of the world fell substantially behind.
Pomeranz’s landmark contribution was to demonstrate that Europe enjoyed no such lead prior to the nineteenth century. As he shows, in 1750, the core areas of China and Japan, especially the Yangzi delta and the Kantō plain, resembled the core areas of Northwest Europe in production, consumption, life expectancy, wage levels, and the economic behavior and strategy of families.
Among his honors are the John King Fairbank Prize for best book in East Asian history (1994, 2001), the World History Association Book Prize (2011). He was elected a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), the United Kingdom's national academy for the humanities and social sciences (2017).
He is a recent president of the American Historical Association and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.