Myanmar's economic institutions in transition

Jared Bissinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Improving the business environment has been a major aim of Myanmar's reforms. However, the formal and informal economic institutions that govern exchange and shape the business environment changed significantly under a half-century of socialist and military government. The socialist leadership eliminated many market-supporting institutions made unnecessary because economic activity was to be state planned. Under this framework, personal exchange became dominant and control of economic life widespread. The military government revived market exchange, but many institutions from the socialist era remained and continue to constrain private business today. Thus, the strict economic controls, arbitrary policy-making and lack of processes that affect businesses in present-day Myanmar have direct institutional links with former regimes. They distort the structure of the economy, incentivize clustering in particular sectors and promote the use of networks and personal exchange. As other countries have shown, successful reform is a long process requiring more than changes in the formal institutions of regulation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-255
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Southeast Asian economies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014


  • Business environment
  • Myanmar
  • New Institutional Economics
  • economic development
  • Burma


Dive into the research topics of 'Myanmar's economic institutions in transition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this