Director's Profile

Director's Profile

Woo Wing Thye


Director, Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development

President, Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia

+60 3 7491 8622


Woo Wing Thye is Research Professor at Sunway University, and Vice-President for Asia at the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (  Wing is also Chang Jiang Professor at Fudan University in Shanghai, Distinguished Fellow at Penang Institute in George Town, Thousand Talent Scholar at the Institute of Population and Labour Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing; and Distinguished Professor Emeritus at University of California Davis. He is currently studying the design of efficient, equitable pathways to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals with projects on Green Finance, Middle Income Trap, and Global Economic Architecture for the Multi-Polar World. He is an expert on the East Asian economies, particularly, China, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Wing’s article “The Monetary Approach to Exchange Rate Determination under Rational Expectations: The Dollar-Deutschemark Case,” Journal of International Economics (JIE), February 1985, was identified by JIE in 2000 to be one of the twenty-five most cited articles in its 30 years of history. His article “China Meets the Middle-Income Trap: The Large Potholes in the Road to Catching-Up,” Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies (JCEBS), November 2012, was awarded the Best Paper Prize at the 30th Anniversary Conference of the Chinese Economist Association (UK/Europe) in 2018.

Wing has advised several governments and international organizations. In early 1990s, he advised several centrally-planned economies on their transition strategies to market economy (Economies in Transition: Comparing Asia and Europe, MIT Press, 1997); and Indonesia on growth strategies and exchange rate management (Macroeconomic Crisis and Long-Term Growth: The Case of Indonesia,1965-1990, World Bank Press, 1994). He advised China’s Ministry of Finance on the comprehensive tax and exchange rate reforms implemented in January 1994 (Fiscal Management and Economic Reform in the People’s Republic of China, Oxford University Press, 1995), and the U.S. Treasury in 1997-98 on the Asian Financial Crisis (The Asian Financial Crisis: Lessons for a Resilient Asia, MIT Press, 2000). From 2002-2005, Wing was the Special Advisor for East Asian Economies in the Millennium Project of the United Nations; in July 2005, he was appointed to the International Advisory Panel to Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi of Malaysia; and in 2008, he became the economic advisor to Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng of Penang State. Wing has been the convener of the Asian Economic Panel (AEP) since 2001, a forum of specialists on Asian economies which meets tri-annually and publishes the Asian Economic Papers, MIT Press.

The University of California at Davis awarded Wing its Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award in 2004 and appointed him Distinguished Professor in 2019; the Ministry of Education of China appointed him Chang Jiang Professor in 2006; the Governor of Penang conferred on him the title Dato in 2009; and the Thousand Talents Program of China appointed him a National Distinguished Expert in 2016. In 2020, The University of Cambodia awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in Sustainable Development, and conferred on him Honorary Membership of the Board to Trustees.

Wing was born in 1954 in George Town, Penang, Malaysia. He was educated at Pykett Methodist School, Methodist Boys’ School, Swarthmore College, Yale University, and Harvard University.

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Sunway University, Malaysia

  • No. 5, Jalan Universiti,
    Bandar Sunway,
    47500 Selangor Darul Ehsan,
  • Phone: +6 (03) 7491 8622
  •  Fax: +6 (03) 5635 8630
  • Email: