About the Author

Heading to China in 1981 for dissertation research at Nanjing University, I was in for a life of adventure as a sinologist and later an Asianist more broadly. On finishing my Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I landed a position in the only economics department in the U.S. to regard a China specialist as core to its mission – at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. From that base, I returned to China regularly over the next decade, including a semester at Nankai University in the spring of 1989, only to be amazed anew with each visit by the pace of change.

author photoIn the Chinese spirit of jumping into the sea, I left my tenured position in paradise in 1994 to freelance as a consultant in Beijing. Major projects involved work with the National Bureau of Statistics measuring small scale business activity for the national accounts and efforts to facilitate economic engagement across the border with Central Asia. The latter led to writing a chapter for a volume on China’s western region of Xinjiang, and that in turn got me blacklisted along with all other contributors to the volume. From 2003 to 2010 one visa effort after another met with failure. Since 2010 I have managed to get back in five times for short visits, although a lot of pull is involved.

In hindsight, I've come to feel the Chinese government did me a favor by forcing me to branch out. I spent four years at the National University of Singapore and three years at the University of the Philippines, and continue to make a home in the Philippines. The country has one of the world’s most dynamic economies and a natural beauty that is unsurpassed.

The inception of Macroeconomics for Emerging East Asia traces to NUS where the misfit of American macro texts for teaching students from Asia became painfully obvious. I set out to fill the need for a textbook suited to the region, and have been able to shape material with the help of students at the University of the Philippines (2015-17) and the KDI School of Public Policy and Management (summer 2019).

Since 2015 I have served as President of the American Committee on Asian Economic Studies and, until mid-2020, as Editor-in-Chief of its publication, the Journal of Asian Economics. My editorship came to an end with a takeover of the Journal by Elsevier (story here). As its new flagship, ACAES has launched the Asia Economics Blog, which I am moderating.

My proudest achievement has been raising my amazing daughter, Rayne, who is now attending medical school at the University of Chicago with a focus on public health and health equity. She has found opportunities to gain hands on experience in medical practice in the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and the Philippines. We enjoy hiking and exploring new places together.

Calla Wiemer
21 September 2020