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Wing Thye Woo 

Distinguished Professor of Economics

B.A., Economics, Swarthmore College, 1976 

B.Sc., Engineering, Swarthmore College, 1976 

M.A., Economics, Yale University, 1978 

M.A., Economics, Harvard University, 1982 

Ph.D., Economics, Harvard University, 1982

Research Interests: International and Domestic Macroeconomics, Economic Growth, Comparative Economic Systems. 

Current Research: Sustainable Economic Growth, Provision of Global Public Goods, Economic Geography, Fiscal Decentralization, Restructuring of State-Owned Enterprises, International Capital Flows.  With emphasis on China, Indonesia, Malaysia and the United States

Selected Publications:

"Importance of green finance for achieving sustainable development goals and energy security," in  Jeffrey D. Sachs, Wing Thye Woo, Naoyuki Yoshino and Farhad Taghizadeh-Hesary (editors), Handbook of Green Finance: Energy Security and Sustainable Development, Tokyo: Springer, 2019.

"Decentralisation the best bet for Malaysia's growth," East Asia Forum, 24 March 2019

"Decentralising Malaysia’s education system,"
East Asia Forum, 27 March 2019

"The road to currency internationalization: Global perspectives and Chinese experience,"  Emerging Markets Review, Vol. 28 Issue 1, March 2019, pp. 73-101.

"Understanding the US-China Trade WarChina Economic Journal, Vol. 11 Issue 3, 2018, pp. 319-340

"Defusing the US-China Trade Conflict" 3 July 2018, Project Syndicate

"A US Perspective on China’s External Economic Disputes in the Past 40 Years and in the Coming 40 Years"

"China's soft budget constraint on the demand-side undermines its supply-side structural reforms," China Economic Review (forthcoming)

"China's Growth Odyssey," 17 February 2017, Project Syndicate;

IMF-CASS Dialogue on "The Shifting Global Economic and Political Landscape: Integration or Fragmentation," with David Lipton, Ian Bremmer, Wing Thye Woo Minghao Zhao, and Yanqing Yang, Beijing, 22 November 2016.

“Technological Innovation Policy in China: The Lessons, and the Necessary Changes Ahead,” (with Xiaolan Fu and Jun Hou) Economic Change and Restructuring, Volume 49, No. 2-3, 2016, pp. 139-157.

“The South China Sea: A New Playbook for China and ASEAN,” (with Liew Chin Tong) 15 July 2016, Project Syndicate (

“The Demand-Side Supplement to Supply-Side Structural Reform: Termination of the Soft-Budget Constraint,” in Ross Garnaut, Ligang Song, Fang Cai and Lauren Johnston,  (editors), China’s New Sources of Economic Growth: Reform, Resources and Climate Change, ANU Press, Canberra, 2016, pp. 139-158.

“How Much Will China Save? Projecting China's National Savings Through 2040,” (with Shiyu Li, Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Shuanglin Lin and Yunyun Jiang), Asian Economic Journal, Volume 30, Issue 3, September 2016, pp. 255–274

“Zombie Firms and the Crowding-Out of Private Investment in China,” (with Yuyan Tan and Yiping Huang), Asian Economic Papers, Fall 2016, Vol. 15, No. 3, pp. 32–55

"Renminbi Rising: The Future of the RMB as an International Currency and Shanghai as an International Financial Market," Project Syndicate Column, 13-December-2013

“China meets the middle-income trap: the large potholes in the road to catching-upJournal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Vol. 10, No. 4, November 2012, p.313–336


“The Changing Ingredients in Industrial Policy for Economic Growth,” 28 November 2011 manuscript


“China's Economic Growth Engine: The Likely Types of Hardware Failure, Software Failure and Power Supply Failure,” 26 April 2011 manuscript


“The Size and Distribution of Hidden Household Income in China,” (with Xiaolu Wang), Asian Economic Papers, Winter/Spring 2011, Vol. 10 No.1, pp. 1-26.


“Combating the Global Financial Crisis with Aggressive Expansionary Monetary Policy:  Same Medicine, Different Outcomes in China, UK and USA,” (with Wei Zhang) The World Economy, Vol. 34, Issue 5, May 2011, pp. 667-686.


“Indonesia’s Economic Performance in Comparative Perspective, and a New Policy Framework for 2049,” (with Chang Hong), Bulletin of Indonesian Economics Studies, April 2010, Vol. 46, No. 1, pp. 33–64.


“Getting Malaysia Out of the Middle-Income Trap” (August 2009)


“China in the Current Global Economic Crisis”

(Testimony before the U.S.-China Economic and Security Commission in Panel II: China’s Short Term and Long Term Economic Goals and Prospects at Hearing on "China's Role in the Origins of and Response to the Global Recession" Tuesday, February 17, 2009, Room 562, Dirksen Senate Office Building)


“The Parallel Partial Progression (PPP) Approach to Institutional Transformation in Transition Economies: Optimize Economic Coherence Not Policy Sequence,” (with Gang FAN), Modern China,  Vol. 35 No. 4, July 2009, pp. 352-369.


"Updating China’s International Economic Policy After Thirty Years of Reform and Opening: What Position on Regional and Global Economic Architecture?” Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, Vol. 7 No. 2, May 2009, pp. 139-166.


“Understanding the Sources of Friction in U.S.-China Trade Relations: The Exchange Rate Debate Diverts Attention Away from Optimum AdjustmentAsian Economic Papers, Vol. 7 No. 3, Fall 2008, pp. 65-99.


“The Malaysian Elections of 2008: The Message is Reform or Oblivion” (March 2008)


"Facing Protectionism Generated by Trade Disputes: China's Post-WTO Blues" (with Geng Xiao), Paper prepared for the China Update 2007 Conference, Integrating Markets in China: Domestic and International, to be held at The Shine Dome, Acton, Australian National University in Canberra, Australia on 12 July 2007.


"What are the High-Probability Challenges to Continued High Growth in China?" Paper prepared for the conference Assessing the Power of China: Political, Economic, and Social Dimensions co-sponsored by the Institute for China Studies at Seoul National University, and the POSCO Research Institute (POSRI) in Seoul, South Korea, May 30-31, 2007.  This paper has its origin in the Debate on China's Economy in the Reframing China Policy Debate Series of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where I argued for the motion that "Without significantly accelerated reforms and major new policy actions, China's rapid growth will unravel before its economy overtakes the U.S."; see


“The Structural Nature of Internal and External Imbalances in ChinaJournal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies, February 2006.


"Understanding African Poverty: Beyond the Washington Consensus to the MDG Approach," (with Gordon McCord, Jeffrey D. Sachs) in Jan Joost Teunissen (editor), Africa in the Global Economy: External Constraints, Regional Integration, and the Role of the State in Development and Finance, FONDAD, 2005; download from:


“Understanding African Poverty: Beyond the Washington Consensus to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Approach,” (with Gordon McCord and Jeffrey D. Sachs), December 2005.


“Serious Inadequacies of the Washington Consensus: Misunderstanding of the Poor by the Brightest,” in Jan Joost Teunissen and Age Akkerman, Diversity in Development: Reconsidering the Washington Consensus, FONDAD, 2004, download from:


“The Poverty Challenge for China in the New Millennium” (with LI Shi, YUE Ximing, Harry WU Xiaoying, and XU Xinpeng), October 1, 2004.


Testimony at Hearing of U.S.-China Commission on Economic and Security Review on China's Growth as a Regional Economic Power: Impact and Implications for the U.S. on 4 December 2003.  Prepared Statement “The Economic Impact of China's Emergence as a Major Trading Nation.”


"The Consequences of China's WTO Accession on its Neighbours," (with Warwick J. McKibbin), Asian Economic Papers, Vol. 2 No. 2, Spring 2003.


“Some Unorthodox Thoughts on China’s Unorthodox Financial SectorChina Economic Review, Vol. 13, 2002.


“The Relative Contributions of Location and Preferential Policies in China’s Regional Development,” (with Sylvie Demurger, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Shuming Bao, and Gene Chang), China Economic Review, Vol. 13, 2002.  Chinese language version appeared in September 2002 issue of Jingji Yanjiu.


“Geography, Economic Policy and Regional Development in China,” (with Sylvie Demurger, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Shuming Bao, Gene Chang, and Andrew Mellinger)


“Recent Claims of China’s Economic Exceptionalism: Reflections Inspired by WTO AccessionChina Economic Review, Vol. 12 No. 2-3, 2001 (reprinted in Ding Lu, G.J. Wen, and Huizhong Zhou, editors, Globalization and the Chinese Economy, Ashgate Publishing, 2002).


"Economic Reforms and Constitutional Transition," (with Jeffrey D. Sachs and Xiaokai Yang), Annals of Economics and Finance, Volume 1, Number 2, November 2000, pp. 435-491 (reprinted in Tran Van Hoa (ed.), Economic Crisis Management - Policy, Practice, Outcomes and Prospects as Chapter 4, pp. 28-85, Edward Elgar, 2002).


"Lessons from the Asian Financial Crisis, and the Prospects for Resuming High Growth," in Lok-Sang Ho and Chi-Wa Yuen (ed.), Exchange Rate Regimes and Macroeconomic Stability, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2002.


"The Asian Financial Crisis: Hindsight, Insight, Foresight" ASEAN Economic Bulletin, August, 2000.


“The Unorthodox Origins of the Asian Currency Crisis: Evidence from Logit Estimation," (with Patrick Damien Carleton, and Brian Pilapil Rosario), ASEAN Economic Bulletin, August, 2000


The Asian Financial Crisis: Lessons for a Resilient Asia, (edited with Jeffrey D. Sachs and Klaus Schwab), MIT Press, 2000. Selected Chapters:

·        Chapter 1: Sachs and Woo, “A Reform Agenda for a Resilient Asia”

·        Chapter 2: Sachs and Woo, “Understanding the Asian Financial Crisis”

·        Chapter 8: Radelet and Woo, “Indonesia: A Troubled Beginning”

·        Chapter 11: Perkins and Woo, “Malaysia: Adjusting to Deep Integration with the World Economy”


"The Real Reasons for China's Growth," The China Journal, January 1999


"Some Observations on the Ownership and Regional Aspects in Financing the Growth of China's Rural Enterprises ," Revue d'Economie du Developpement, Juin 1999.


"Chinese Economic Growth: Sources and Prospects," in Michel Fouquin and Francoise Lemoine (edited), The Chinese Economy, Economica, 1998.


Economies in Transition: Comparing Asia and Europe, (edited with Stephen Parker and Jeffrey D. Sachs), MIT Press, 1997.


Economic Reform and Fiscal Management in China (with Christine Wong and Christopher Heady), Oxford University Press, 1995.


Macroeconomic Crises, Policies and Long-Term Growth in Indonesia, 1965-90 (with Bruce Glassburner and Anwar Nasution), World Bank, 1994. 


"The Art of Reforming Centrally-Planned Economies: Comparing China, Poland and Russia," Journal of Comparative Economics, June 1994


"How Successful Has Chinese Enterprise Reform Been? Pitfalls in Opposite Biases and Focus," (with Wen Hai, Yibiao Jin and Gang Fan), Journal of Comparative Economics, June 1994.


“Saving Behaviour under Imperfect Financial Markets and the Current Account Consequences,” Economic Journal, May 1994.


“Structural factors in the economic reforms of China, Eastern Europe, and the Former Soviet Union,” (with Jeffrey D. Sachs), Economic Policy, April 1994.


"The Art of Economic Development: Markets, Politics, and Externalities," International Organisation, Vol. 44 No. 3, Summer 1990


“Some Evidence of Speculative Bubbles in the Foreign Exchange Market,” Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, November 1987.