About the Author
Dissertation research at Nanjing University in 1981-82 launched my career as a sinologist, then Asianist more broadly. On finishing my PhD at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I landed a position in the only economics department in the US 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.
Banking University of Ho Chi Minh City, 2022
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 Central Asia work led to writing a chapter for a volume on China’s western region of Xinjiang, and this got me blacklisted along with all other contributors to the volume. From 2003 to 2010 one visa effort after another met with failure. Between 2010 and 2019, I managed to get back in five times for short visits, although it took a lot of pull. In the latest plot twist, in 2023 I have been able to get two visas with no eminent figure taking responsibility for me and no interview at the Chinese embassy. What's more, the print version of my textbook was approved for sale in China, although the latest news is that this is a "dynamic process".
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 at the University of the Philippines, and continue to maintain residency in both Manila and Los Angeles.
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 was 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 in Korea (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 Beijing (story here). As its new flagship, ACAES launched the Asia Economics Blog, which I moderate. In 2022, I was inducted into the US National Business Economic Issues Council where I brief corporate economists on conditions in Asia.
My proudest achievement has been raising my amazing daughter, Rayne, who's now attending medical school at the University of Chicago with a specialization in surgery. 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.