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Home > Main Library > Economy > Economy in Burma/Myanmar: general, analytical, statistical > Burmese Economists on the Burmese Economy > Studies on the Burmese economy by individual Burmese economists

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Studies on the Burmese economy by individual Burmese economists

Individual Documents

Title: Myanmar’s new political-economic contours
Date of publication: 02 July 2012
Description/subject: "...The realities that will define Myanmar’s political economy in the medium-term future seem to be coming into focus. For foreign firms and governments and international organizations that take Southeast Asia seriously, whose understanding of the region transcends the level that one associates with, say, the leadership of American chambers of commerce in Southeast Asian capitals or the pampered, parochial globalists-in-their-own-minds who staff the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, this is good news. ... The high Cold War in Southeast Asia is long over. But the country is beginning to present what look like familiar, even generic, contours of post-Cold War Southeast Asian political economies. It is worth tracing some eight of these contours..."
Author/creator: Myaungmya Aung Myint Myat (plus comments)
Language: English
Source/publisher: "New Mandala"
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 04 July 2012

Title: Resumption of Official Development Assistance (ODA): Views from Myanmar Perspective - Statement by U Myint
Date of publication: 01 March 2012
Description/subject: "...the resumption of ODA flows, even if they were to come in substantial amounts, might not by themselves, help to improve the welfare of the ordinary people of Myanmar – particularly welfare of the large majority of poor people at the bottom of the income scale..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: WORKSHOP ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Traders Hotel, Yangon
Format/size: pdf (116K)
Date of entry/update: 18 March 2012

Title: Ayeyarwady (Irrawaddy) Workshop Papers
Date of publication: 17 September 2011
Description/subject: A number of papers in English and Burmese on the Irrawaddy hydro projects. In a day or so there will be a neater and lighter version, with some details of the Burmese and English contents အမွတ္ (၁) လွ်ပ္စစ္စြမ္းအား၀န္ႀကီးဌာန-Minister for Electric Power No (1)... ပညာရပ္ဆိုင္ရာ အလုပ္ရံုေဆြးေႏြးပြဲ (၃/ ၂၀၁၁) ... ၂၀၁၁ ခုႏွစ္ စက္တင္ဘာလ (၁၇) ရက္ ... ဧရာ၀တီျမစ္၀ွမ္း ေရအားလွ်ပ္စစ္ စီမံကိန္း မ်ားေၾကာင့္ ဧရာ၀တီျမစ္ႏွင့္ သဘာ၀ပတ္၀န္းက်င္ အေပၚ သက္ေရာက္မႈ အလုပ္ရံုေဆြးေႏြးပြဲ... ၃/ ၂၀၁၁ အလုပ္ရံု ေဆြးေႏြးပြဲ ဖြင့္လွစ္ေၾကာင္း ေၾကျငာျခင္း... အမွတ္(၁) လွ်ပ္စစ္စြမ္းအား၀န္ႀကီးဌာန၊ ျပည္ေထာင္စု၀န္ႀကီးမွ အဖြင့္ အမွာစကား ေျပာၾကားျခင္း... BANCA ဥကၠ႒ ေဒါက္တာထင္လွ မွ ေဆြးေႏြးျခင္း... CPIYN President Mr. Li Guanghua မွ ေဆြးေႏြးျခင္း ... ေရအားလွ်ပ္စစ္စီမံေရး ဦးစီးဌာန၊ ညႊန္ၾကားေရးမွဴးခ်ဳပ္၊ ဦးႀကီးစိုးမွ ေဆြးေႏြးျခင္း... ေကာင္းေက်ာ္ေစ ကုမၸဏီမွ Chairman/ CEO ဦးထြန္းႏိုင္ေအာင္မွ ေဆြးေႏြးျခင္း... ပတ္၀န္းက်င္ထိန္းသိမ္းေရးႏွင့္ သစ္ေတာ၀န္ႀကီးဌာန ညႊန္ၾကားေရးမွဴး၊ ဦးလွေမာင္သိန္မွ ေဆြးေႏြးျခင္း ... ပို႔ေဆာင္ေရး၀န္ႀကီးဌာန၊ ညႊန္ၾကားေရးမွဴး ဦးကိုကိုမွ ေဆြးေႏြးျခင္း ... ပတ္၀န္းက်င္ထိမ္းသိမ္းေရးႏွင့္ သစ္ေတာေရးရာ ၀န္ႀကီးဌာန၊ ျပည္ေထာင္စု ၀န္ႀကီးမွ အႀကံျပဳေဆြးေႏြးျခင္း... ပိုေဆာင္ေရး၀န္ႀကီးဌာန၊ ျပည္ေထာင္စု၀န္ႀကီး မွ အႀကံျပဳ ေဆြးေႏြးျခင္း... သတၱဳတြင္း၀န္ႀကီးဌာန၊ ျပည္ေထာင္စု၀န္ႀကီးမွ အႀကံျပဳေဆြးေႏြးျခင္း... လယ္ယာစိုက္ပ်ဳိးေရးႏွင့္ ဆည္ေျမာင္း၀န္ႀကီးဌာန ျပည္ေထာင္စု ဒုတိယ၀န္ႀကီးမွ အႀကံျပဳေဆြးေႏြးျခင္း... အမွတ္(၂) လွ်ပ္စစ္ စြမ္းအား၀န္ႀကီးဌာန၊ ျပည္ေထာင္စု ဒုတိယ၀န္ႀကီးမွ အႀကံျပဳေဆြးေႏြးျခင္း... ပညာရွင္မ်ားႏွင့္ လႊတ္ေတာ္ကိုယ္စားလွယ္မ်ားမွ အႀကံျပဳေဆြးေႏြးျခင္း... စာနယ္ဇင္းမ်ားမွ ေမးျမန္းျခင္းႏွင့္ေျဖၾကားျခင္း... ျမန္မာႏိုင္ငံရင္းႏွီးျမႇပ္ႏွံမွဳေကာ္မရွင္၊ ဥကၠ႒မွ အႀကံျပဳေဆြးေႏြးျခင္း... အမွတ္(၁) လွ်ပ္စစ္စြမ္းအား၀န္ႀကီးဌာန၊ ျပည္ေထာင္စု၀န္ႀကီး မွ နိဂံုးခ်ဳပ္အမွာစကားေျပာၾကားျခင္း ...
Language: Burmese (ျမန္မာဘာသာ), English
Source/publisher: Government of the Union of Myanmar: Ministry for Electric Power No (1); အမွတ္ (၁) လွ်ပ္စစ္စြမ္းအား၀န္ႀကီးဌာန
Format/size: pdf (11MB)
Date of entry/update: 16 October 2011

Title: A Game of Cat and Mouse
Date of publication: February 2010
Description/subject: Advising Burma’s generals on how to run the country’s economy is a risky business... "During a rare economic forum held [in Rangoon?] in cooperation with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in December, U Myint, a retired economics professor at the Rangoon Institute of Economics, unveiled a few economic reform proposals. Two Rangoon farmers chat in their feld after harvesting rice. About half of Burma’s GDP comes from agriculture. (Photo: AFP) In a follow-up to this gathering, which was attended by former World Bank chief economist and Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, U Myint, who has also served as an economic adviser to ESCAP, held a press briefing at the Myanmar Egress Capacity Development Center in Rangoon on Jan. 9. In a press statement, U Myint recalled that someone at the earlier conference expressed the view that the only people worth talking to in Burma are the generals, but the generals are poor listeners, so it was a waste of time talking to them because nothing useful will result..."
Author/creator: Htet Aung
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 18, No. 2
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 28 February 2010

Title: Myanmar Economy A Comparative View
Date of publication: December 2009
Description/subject: Revised and updated version of a paper presented to the Myanmar/ Burma Studies Conference, Singapore, 13–15 July 2006..... Contents: Introduction... GDP Growth Rate... Structure of GDP... Per Capita GDP and the Question of Catching-Up... Pattern of Household Consumption Expenditure... Export Commodities... Inflation... The Exchange Rate... Rethinking Policy and Implications for Regional Integration... Concluding Remarks... Appendix... About the Author.....Introduction1 Building a modern developed nation A stated objective of Myanmar is to become a modern developed nation that will stand shoulder to shoulder – proud, dignified and tall – with the countries of the world. How far has Myanmar come in achieving this goal, viewed from an economic perspective?2 Where does it stand at present in relation to other nations, and especially those in the Asian region? This paper attempts to provide some thoughts along these lines by looking at Myanmar’s official data on: • Rate of growth of the gross domestic product (GDP) • GDP growth in relation to gross domestic investment (GDI) • Structure of GDP • Level of per capita GDP • Pattern of household consumption expenditure • Commodity composition of exports • Inflation rate • Exchange rate
Author/creator: U Myint
Language: English
Source/publisher: Institute for Security and Development Policy (Sweden)
Format/size: pdf (576K)
Date of entry/update: 19 February 2010

Title: Myanmar’s GDP growth and investment: lessons from a historical perspective
Date of publication: January 2008
Description/subject: "According to official figures, Myanmar has achieved double-digit gross domestic product (GDP) growth rates every year for the six years from 2000 to 2005. These figures have proved controversial. A related and another contentious issue regarding Myanmar’s economic performance in the same period is that high real GDP growth rates have been achieved with comparatively low gross domestic investment (GDI) to GDP ratios. In order to gain a proper perspective on these issues, one approach is to use cross-sectional data for a particular period to obtain a comparative view of Myanmar’s performance vis-a-vis the performance of its neighbours in the same period. The comparative approach has been adopted frequently and has been useful in analysing developments in Myanmar’s economic and social situation through the years. Myanmar has, however, a rich tradition of data collection and analysis. National accounts data, for example, go as far back as 1948, when the country gained independence, and even beyond. In addition to cross-sectional analysis, therefore, the available time-series data could be used to review Myanmar’s recent economic performance, as reflected in official data of the country’s past experience. Such a brief review is attempted in this chapter with specific attention devoted to real GDP growth and GDI..."
Author/creator: U Myint
Language: English
Source/publisher: 2007 Myanmar/Burma Update Conference via Australian National University
Format/size: pdf (168K)
Alternate URLs: http://epress.anu.edu.au/myanmar02/pdf_instructions.html
Date of entry/update: 30 December 2008

Title: Burma Economic Review 2005-2006
Date of publication: June 2007
Description/subject: Executive Summary: The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) military junta claimed a 12.2 % growth in the Burmese economy in 2006 but international sources say differently; they forecast a slim growth of 2 to 3 % rise. Production and exploration in the oil and gas sector is active, but the rest of economy remains weak. Agriculture suffers from poor productivity, with output below potential. Manufacturing is constrained by inadequate quantity and quality of inputs, due to problems of imports and power shortages. Weak Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth reflects poor prospects for consumption and investment. In October 2005, the SPDC increased eight folds the state-subsidized petrol prices. This prompted higher prices for basic commodities. Inflation returned to double digit rates. Monetary policy has not addressed the inflationary pressures. Interest rates remain unchanged since 2001, despite high inflation. But the SPDC increased the interest rates by two per cent points to 12 per cent on 16 April 2006. Real rates are likely to be negative. Prices for important commodities soared in the wake of junta’s decision to raise public-sector salaries in April 2006. Rice and fuel prices remain high. Official data do not reveal the full extent of inflation reaching 14.3 % in December 2005 and 11 % in early 2006. Based on the official data series, the Economist Intelligent Unit (EIU) estimates the annual inflation to average over 21 % in 2006.The true rate of inflation could be 50 %. Strong growth in both narrow money supply (M1) and quasi-money (comprising time, savings and foreign exchange deposits) contributed to a 26.8 % year-on-year expansion in broad money supply (M2) at the end of May 2006. The junta demands credit from the Central Bank, which it uses to fund its budget deficit. Total outstanding credit of the junta was 2.5 trillion kyat (nearly US$440 billion at the official exchange rate, or US$1.9 billion at the free-market exchange rate) by May 2006, an increase of 28 %. The state budget remained unbalanced with substantial deficits during much of the 1990s. Fiscal deficits are financed automatically by credit from the Central Bank, a source of domestic inflation and instability in the economy. The Junta's state expenditures are disproportionately allocated on items that deny sustainable development of the people or the nation. Defense, ceremonies and rituals, festivals, inspection tours, meetings and seminars, building physical infrastructure-roads, railways, bridges, dams, monuments, museums, shiny office complexes and fancy airports, represent wasteful consumption or constitute expensive capital outlays, undertaken without proper feasibility studies and environmental impact assessments, and unclear, uncertain and dubious returns on investment. Chronic state budget deficits contribute to rapid monetary growth and everspiraling inflation. In order to recover the budget deficit, the junta-increased taxes and collected money and forced people to labor for developmental projects such as construction of roads, dams, and bridges. The junta continues to control, command, and centralize Burma’s people and the economy. Exchange rate distortions favor a few at the expense of many. Fiscal deficit comes at the expense of social spending which has been reduced far below necessary levels. At the same time, financing the fiscal deficit through central bank credit is one underlying factor of persistent high inflation. The nation’s tax revenue remains buoyant, rising by 28.1 % year on year in nominal terms in the first 11 months of fiscal year 2005/06 (April-March). Total tax revenue reached 292 billion kyat during this period (around US$50 billion at the inflated official exchange rate, or US$225 million at free-market exchange rate). Although revenue is still rising, growth has slowed since 2004/05, when revenue expanded by 77 % year on year for the whole fiscal year. This in part reflects a correction after an increase in average import tariffs, imposed in mid-2004, brought a 424 % year-on-year surge in customs tax fell by 15.1 per cent year on year to 16.2 billion kyat. A clamp-down on corruption among customs officials in recent months may be part of an effort to boost revenue from customs tax. Other sources of tax revenue expanded in the first 11 months of 2005/06. Profit tax jumped by 49 per cent year on year, slightly ahead of commodities and services tax (which rose by 47 per cent) and income tax (11 per cent)1. 2 Total public-sector deficit reached 6 % of GDP for 2004/05. Heavy losses by the state-owned enterprises (SOE) typically accounted for over 60 % of the overall deficit. The SPDC’s fiscal position is also weighted down by high off-budget spending on the country's huge armed forces. The budget position is unlikely to have improved in 2005/06 and 2006/07 (the current fiscal year), owing to the junta's expansionary fiscal policy. The junta's decision to relocate many government offices to a huge new administrative complex at Naypyidaw, 320 km north of Rangoon, imposed heavy costs. In addition, in April 2006 the junta raised salaries for around 1 million civil servants and military officers by between 500 and 1,200 per cent. The black market is estimated to be as big if not bigger than the official economy. Published statistics on foreign trade are greatly understated because of the size of the black market and unofficial border trade. Burma's trade with Thailand, China, and India is rising. Though the Burmese government has good economic relations with its neighbors, better investment and business climates and an improved political situation are needed to promote foreign investment, exports, and tourism. No new foreign direct investment projects have been approved in recent months. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) approvals totaled a meager US$35.7 million for the first 11 months of 2005/06, down from US$158.3 million for the whole of 2004/05. It is possible that the data do not capture some small FDI flows, such as those by Thai and Chinese firms in small projects along the border with Burma. International tourist arrivals totaled 320,275 in 2005, up by 5 % year on year, according to data from the Central Statistical Organization (CSO). Although arrivals rose, the pace of growth slowed compared with 2004 (rose 11.6 per cent). The slowdown reflected a 5.6 % year on year drop in arrivals by air, to 145,959, around 46 % total arrivals. Total international reserves reached US$951 million at the end of June 2006, according to data from the IMF. Reserves increased sharply in the first quarter of the year, surpassing US$900 million for the first time, before rising further in the second quarter. The main reason for the improvement in the overall balance-of-payments position and international reserves has been the rise in exports, which have been driven by strong growth in exports of natural gas. The official kyat exchange rate remains artificially inflated. The exchange rate like the rest of the junta system does not reflect the reality of the monetary system. The free-market exchange rate of kyat to US$ was 1,350:US$1 in July-October 2006, having recovered from kyat 1,450:US$1 at the end of April, which also put pressure on prices. There has been a mild appreciation of the kyat since then. The ratio of the parallel rate to the official rate is nearly 200:1. The kyat came under pressure earlier this year owing to fears that a pay rise for civil servants would sharply push up prices. However, strong gas exports have boosted international reserves, thereby helping the kyat to stabilize. The little-used official exchange rate is fixed against the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) special drawing rights (SDR) unit. The official rate held steady at around kyat 5.9:US$1 by August 2006.
Author/creator: Sein Htay
Language: English
Source/publisher: Burma Fund (NCGUB)
Format/size: pdf (1.5MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ncgub.net/mediagallery/download.php?mid=20070523134011574
Date of entry/update: 06 June 2007

Title: Economic Report on Burma 2004/05
Date of publication: 06 May 2002
Description/subject: "..The objective of this report is to help the policy makers with an analysis of the international sanctions effect and to try to explain the real current economic and social conditions, impact on and Burma's urgent need to combat poverty. Moreover, also try to present the relationship between macro economic situation such as economic growth, foreign trade, state budget, inflation, employment, wages and the conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity in Burma. In addition, to explain how the Burmese generals and their crony drug lords exploit the Burmese economy, and how the Burmese military has become the sole beneficiary of foreign direct investment by setting up its own industries separately from the state enterprises since 1988. And also would like to explain the impact on the military's confiscation of land, labor, crops and capital assets or militarization on the whole economy..."
Author/creator: Sein Htay
Language: English
Source/publisher: Federation of Trade Unions-Burma (FTUB)
Format/size: pdf (1.3MB)
Date of entry/update: 30 December 2011

Title: Myanmar: The Dilemma of Stalled Reforms
Date of publication: September 2000
Description/subject: "Myanmar's economic reforms are constrained by the domestic political situation... This paper explores Myanmar's political and economic background in the context of stalled reforms. It finds that Myanmar's economic development is constrained by the domestic political situation, which has in turn been linked to sanctions on trade, investment and aid imposed by Western Europe and the United States. The paper states that further reforms are still required, as the previous round of reforms failed to redress problems such as: * High inflation * Persistent fiscal deficit * Widening trade deficit * Chronic foreign exchange shortage * A drastic fall in foreign investment * Inefficient state economic enterprises (SEEs) * Low value-added production... The paper notes: * The current military government is endeavouring to institute a new political order, while at the same time attempting a smooth transition from a closed to an open market economy. * The fundamental premise is that these broad political and economic reforms should not compromise the three principal main national causes including national sovereignty... The paper concludes: * Conflict between the NLD and the government and the resulting political impasse is the main obstacle for further reforms. * The realization of Myanmars reforms will depend on whether the government and the opposition can be reconciled..."
Author/creator: Tin Maung Maung Than
Language: English
Source/publisher: Institute for South-East Asian Studies (ISEAS) via Eldis
Format/size: pdf (80K) 40 pages
Alternate URLs: http://www.iseas.edu.sg/trends1020.pdf
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003

Title: Economic Development of Burma: A Vision and a Strategy - a study by Burmese economists
Date of publication: 2000
Description/subject: "...Together with the excessive crimes against human rights taking place in Burma, the economic underdevelopment is a matter of concern to political leaders and professional economists everywhere. It is, of course, of particular concern to the Burmese people themselves, both those who live in the country, and those who have travelled to other parts of the world. Therefore, it is a matter of great importance to analyse the main factors which have stood in the way of Burma's participation in the world-wide surge of economic growth in the past half a century, and even more importantly, to devise ways in which the country can overcome these obstacles and achieve a higher rate of economic development. It is towards this objective that the present report makes an important contribution. It is in fact a study undertaken by Burmese scholars themselves. Hence they have brought to this study their own rich and personal knowledge of the problems of the country and the possibilities that lie ahead. Additionally, most of the scholars who have undertaken the present study have in fact travelled widely and achieved high professional recognition as development specialists in the leading universities of the world. They are thus able to combine their intimate knowledge of the country with the latest advances in economic science in order to give us some deep insights about the best ways to advance the future development of Burma. What follows is not a plan for economic development as it is commonly understood. In that sense, a plan consists of definite targets to be achieved, schedules for the implementation of various programmes, the mobilisation of adequate resources for the purpose, and schemes for the appraisal and control of the results. But planning in this sense is not something which can be efficiently undertaken by a small group of scholars who are not in active collaboration with those responsible for the implementation of plans. This is particularly the case with those scholars who have been away from the country in recent years. However, what such a group of Burmese scholars can do, and have done in this study, is to think through the problems of developing the country in the long run, taking into account Burma's own historical experience, the changes which are taking place in the outside world, and to investigate the likely scenarios or trends for the future, and thus come up with a vision of what to aim for and an approach and sense of direction for the long term development of Burma. This will give political leaders, both those inside the country who are responsible for designing and carrying out its policies, and those in donor countries abroad who can assist this effort by the scale of their financial and technical assistance. Such strategic studies have been undertaken in countries as far apart as the United States on the one hand, and Chile on the other. Nearer home, such studies have been used by the governments of Singapore and Malaysia as the basis of their more specific policies. It is in this sense that the present study will serve as a useful basis for further thought and discussion by all concerned with the future welfare of the people of Burma. A welfare that can take place nor survive without political changes in the country..."...Overview and Policy Framework; Agriculture; Industry; Natural Resources and Environment; International Trade and Investment; The Monetary and Fiscal Framework for Macroeconomic Stability; Poverty and Income Distribution; Education; Infrastructure; Institutions; Priorities and Problems of Implementation; Conclusion
Author/creator: Khin Maung Kyi, Ronald Findlay, R.M. Sundrum, Mya Maung, Myo Nyunt, Zaw Oo, et al.
Language: English
Source/publisher: The Olof Palme International Center
Format/size: pdf (1.7MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.ibiblio.org/obl/docs3/Vision-strategy.ocr.pdf
Date of entry/update: 17 April 2005

Date of publication: 1993
Description/subject: INTRODUCTION: "When Myanmar (then known as Burma) attained its independence in 1948, international agencies identified it as one of the most promising regional candidates for economic take off. Its modern technical and university education system, high rate of literacy, well trained civil service and a cadre of educated middle class, basic infrastructure, and a well run legal system were considered as good ingredients for Myanmar's expected take off. In the 1950s, Myanmar's gross domestic product (GDP) was growing consistently at an annual average rate of over 4 per cent, in contrast with the chequered performance of its neighbours. In the early 1960s, the country was poised for labour intensive industrialization with a number of textile and consumer product firms manufacturing export quality goods. Then came the putsch and the socialist revolution, followed by stagnation and decline. Twenty six years passed before Myanmar finally erupted and the change to market economy was forcibly brought in. Myanmar is now in the throes of the struggle for modernization and change. With the military still holding on to the reins of power on the one hand and the contending democratic opposition and the ethnic groups with diverse claims and interests on the other, Myanmar has not come out of its pains of growing up, to meet the challenges of the outside world. This paper will review significant developments and changes in 1993 and re examine the complex of situations influencing its sluggish economic performance and the equally slow rate of political transformation. Myanmar's problems and prospects for long term development and modernization are also analysed."
Author/creator: Khin Maung Kyi
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Southeast Asian Affairs" 1994,
Format/size: pdf (215K)
Date of entry/update: 03 January 2012