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Jared Bissinger

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  • Title: Mr
  • Position: PhD Student - Department of Economics

Contact Details

Publications

journal toggle icon open Refereed Journal Articles

Peer Reviewed Publications 

  • “Foreign Investment in Myanmar: A Resource Boom but a Development Bust,” Contemporary Southeast Asia, Vol. 34, No. 1, 2012: 23-52.
  • “The Maritime Boundary Dispute between Bangladesh and Myanmar: Motivations, Potential Solutions, and Implications,” Asia Policy 10 (July 2010): 103-142.
  • “Democratic Norms and Structures: Influencing Interactions between Democratic States,” Emerging Scholars 2008-2009, Australian Institute of International Affairs, ISBN: 978-0-909992-58-3.

conference toggle icon open Conferences and Presentations

  • "Firm Perceptions of Myanmar’s Business Climate: Electricity and the Quick Win of Progressive Power Pricing,” Myanmar 2012 Conference, Hong Kong University, June 18-20, 2012. Download paper "Firm Perceptions of Myanmar's Business Climate" (PDF)
  • "Foreign Investment Trends in Myanmar,” Myanmar 2011: Governance, Development Dialogue, Hong Kong University, June 20-22, 2011.
  • “Foreign Investment in Myanmar,” Burmese Studies Workshop, University of Melbourne, May 25, 2011.
  • “The Maritime Boundary Dispute Between Bangladesh and Myanmar,” Asia Policy Assembly, Washington, DC, June 18, 2010.

Student information

  • Load: PhD Student Full Time
  • Principal supervisor: Associate Professor Sean Turnell
  • Associate supervisor: Wiley Bradford
  • Date of submission: 14/08/2014
  • Thesis title: Firm Performance and the Business Environment in Myanmar
  • Abstract:

    Myanmar is in the midst of the most important economic reforms in a half century, which the country’s new government hopes will allow its economy to “catch up” with those of its quickly growing neighbours such as Thailand and China. Yet the economy remains distorted from decades of tight government control. Credit is scarce, rural poverty is widespread, worker skills are low, and employment prospects for most are poor.

    This study examines the current state of businesses in Myanmar through the use of firm level data collected in a field survey in early 2012. The lack of reliable macroeconomic and microeconomic data in the country necessitated that a field survey of firms be directly implemented by the researcher. The survey aims to cover over 100 firms of varying sizes in Myanmar’s two largest business centers, Yangon and Mandalay, in a range of economic sectors. It will collect information on perceptions of the business environment, firm characteristics, and firm performance.

    Using this data, the study will examine three main questions:

    • What are the major constraints to firm level growth and characteristics of successful firms in Myanmar?
    • What are the characteristics of firms that undergo employment intensive growth?
    • How does informality in firms affect growth and employment?
  • Purpose: To understand, quantitatively and qualitatively, the contribution of the formal private sector in Myanmar to economic growth and increased employment, with the aim of informing government in their formulation of policy.
  • Originality: First systemic and randomized firm level survey in Myanmar in decades to follow an internationally recognized methodology with a statistically significant sample size. It is also one of the few economic studies to Myanmar to use reliable unofficial data to illuminate the macroeconomy.
  • Design/methodology/approach: A randomized survey of 153 small, medium and large enterprises in Yangon and Mandalay, as well as over 30 formal and semi-formal interviews with businessmen, government officials, international organizations and local and international NGOs. Firm level data will be used in regression analysis about the business environment, including determinants of firm level growth and hiring.
  • Practical and social implications: Relevance for domestic and international policymakers as well as business, international organizations and service-delivery NGOs through providing a more detailed illustration of the formal private sector and business environment in Myanmar.
  • Keywords: Myanmar, Burma, Business Environment, Macroeconomic Policy

Other Publications

  • "Think Again: Burma's Economy," Foreign Policy, September 18, 2012
  • Fwd: PhD Student Profile Update Request - hdrbusecon@mq.edu.au - Macquarie University Mail
  • "Dividing the Spoils," Himal Magazine, April 2012.
  • "Bangladesh-Myanmar maritime border fix puts Bay of Bengal in play," World Politics Review, September 29, 2011.
  • "Behind Burma's Rising FDI," The Diplomat, August 31, 2011.
  • "Burma's dash for offshore cash," Himal Magazine, September 2010.
  • "Burma, Bangladesh, and the Maritime Boundary," Irrawaddy Magazine, July 2010.
  • "Myanmar's Motivations for a Maritime Boundary," Daily Star, June 3, 2010. 
  • Fwd: PhD Student Profile Update Request - hdrbusecon@mq.edu.au - Macquarie University Mail
  • "Investment, Discretion and the Burma's Future Economic Development," Democratic Voice of Burma, November 20, 2012.

Media Mentions 

  • Fanning the 'Flickers of Progress'Fanning the 'Flickers of Progress'

  • Publication: The Irrawaddy
    Title: Fanning the 'Flickers of Progress'
    Date: 28 December 2012
    Author: Marwaan Macan-Markar

    Excerpt: "I think the business sector, notably in the case of the United States (which had the strongest restriction on private-sector engagement) is one important driving force behind this emerging trend,"

    Read "Fanning the 'Flickers of Progress'"

  • Wall Street Journal - Mayanmar Braces for KFCWall Street Journal - Mayanmar Braces for KFC

  • Publication: Wall Street Journal
    Title: Mayanmar Braces for KFC
    Date: 11 October 2012
    Author: Becky Palmstrom
    Excerpt: "Mr. Bissinger sees their arrival more positively. “It’s about giving local people choice about what they want to do and what they want to eat,” he says, “and I think that’s a good thing.” "

    Read "Mayanmar Braces for KFC"

  • Reuters - Run on deposits gives Myanmar's fledgling banks a frightReuters - Run on deposits gives Myanmar's fledgling banks a fright

  • Publication: Reuters
    Title: Run on deposits gives Myanmar's fledgling banks a fright
    Date: 10 October 2012
    Author: Aung Hla Tun and Martin Petty
    Excerpt: "Jared Bissinger, an expert on Myanmar's economy at Australia's Macquarie University, said that after years without reliable information or an independent media, rumors carried great weight in Myanmar, exacerbated this time by a "persistent lack of public trust" in the banking sector.

    "The banks are better regulated and more well-capitalized now than they were 10 years ago... but this will re-emphasize to everyone the importance of doing your homework about potential business partners in Myanmar," he said. "It's absolutely a reminder that Myanmar still has a long way to go." "

    Read "Run on deposits gives Myanmar's fledgling banks a fright"

  • TMT - Telecoms giants jostle ahead of licence tenderTMT - Telecoms giants jostle ahead of licence tender

  • Publication: The Myanmar Times
    Title: Telecoms giants jostle ahead of licence tender
    Date: 17 September 2012
    Author: Victoria Bruce
    Excerpt: "“The ICT sector is also high risk, as its potential positive and negative roles are heightened in conflict-affected areas,” said Kathy Mulvey, Conflict Risk Network director. But if managed well, the development of Myanmar’s telecommunications industry will be an important driver of economic growth, said Jared Bissinger, a PhD student at Australia’s Macquarie University who is studying Myanmar’s economy. "

    Read "Telecoms giants jostle ahead of licence tender"

  • Myanmar Times Investment SupplementMyanmar Times Investment Supplement

  • Publication: Myanmar Times
    Title: Myanmar’s small business not ready for competition
    Date: September 2012
    Excerpt: "There is potential for bigger, better financed and business-savvy investors to put local firms out of business, agreed Jared Bissinger, a Phd candidate from australia’s Macquarie University who is studying Myanmar’s economy.

    “What you don’t want is a bunch of foreign companies coming in and displacing local companies,” Mr Bissinger said. “and there’s a big risk of that happening.”

    “Instead, you want foreign companies to come in and do things better through introducing more efficient production methods, more capital or new management techniques,” he said.

    “These can bring production costs down and quality up, so new foreign firms don’t just take a slice of the pie but expand the size of the pie.”"

    Read "Myanmar’s small business not ready for competition" (PDF)

  • Crikey - Post-sanction Myanmar a tough place to do businessCrikey - Post-sanction Myanmar a tough place to do business

  • Publication: Crikey
    Title: Post-sanction Myanmar a tough place to do business
    Date: 13 August 2012
    Author: Victoria Bruce
    Excerpt: "“For the first time in a long time, investors see a government here that is serious about opening the country and creating a place where people can do business,” said Jared Bissinger, a PhD candidate at Macquarie University who is studying Myanmar’s economy. ”I think these are the most important reasons why there is so much excitement about Myanmar right now.”

    But he says Myanmar may soon suffer from “investor fatigue”, as firms come to terms with the difficulty of doing business in a country emerging from 50 years of central economic planning. “Infrastructure — especially roads, telecommunications, and electricity — are desperately inadequate and among the worst in Asia,” he said.

    “These things cannot change overnight — developing the capacity of the government and the country’s human and physical capital will take decades. Of course, business will play a huge role in this, but they have to understand that investment environment can only improve gradually — not overnight.”"

    Read "Post-sanction Myanmar a tough place to do business"

     

  • The Age - Burma comes in from the cold, gold and allThe Age - Burma comes in from the cold, gold and all

  • Publication: The Age
    Title: Burma comes in from the cold, gold and all
    Date: 11 August 2012
    Author: Victoria Bruce
    Excerpt: "''Many investors are surprised by how difficult it is to do business in Myanmar, and limited infrastructure and restrictive legal and economic conditions are the main hindrances to international investment,'' said Jared Bissinger, a PhD candidate at Macquarie University studying Burma's economy.

    He said that despite rapid reforms, Transparency International ranked the country as one of the world's most corrupt."

    Read "Burma comes in from the cold, gold and all"

  • Democratic Voice of Burma - Multinational food giants eye spot at Burma’s tableDemocratic Voice of Burma - Multinational food giants eye spot at Burma’s table

  • Publication: Democratic Voice of Burma
    Title: Multinational food giants eye spot at Burma’s table
    Date: 17 July 2012
    Author: Kate Kelly
    Excerpt: "But ultimately, the Burmese consumer will make the final decision on what products will be popular, according to Jared Bissinger, a PhD candidate at Australia’s Macquarie University who is studying Burma’s economy.

    “Consumers around the world choose companies like Coke and KFC because they like those products,” said Bissinger. “These people have other choices about where to eat and drink but make their choice based on price, taste, or some other factor that they value.

    “Competition in food and beverage industries expands consumer’s choices (increasing their welfare), helps bring down price and generally improves quality,” said Bissinger.

    He said the role of government should not be to restrict these consumer products but to protect local companies by ensuring an appropriate degree of regulation regarding competition.

    “Prohibiting competition and choice in the long run is not the answer, and won’t help companies from Myanmar learn, grow, and compete domestically or internationally,” said Bissinger said."

    Read "Multinational food giants eye spot at Burma’s table"

  • Democratic Voice of Burma - Investors and the new economyDemocratic Voice of Burma - Investors and the new economy

  • Publication: Democratic Voice of Burma
    Title: Investors and the new economy
    Date: 4 July 2012
    Author: Kate Kelly
    Excerpt: "Jared Bissinger, a PhD candidate at Australia’s Macquarie University, says Burma could quickly fall victim to the resource curse, which has dominated foreign investment in the past decade.

    “Over the past decade Myanmar’s inward foreign direct investment [FDI] has become heavily concentrated in the extractive and power sectors, while investment in manufacturing, services and other secondary and tertiary sectors has been almost non-existent,” wrote Bissinger in his latest journal article, “Foreign Investment in Myanmar”, which was published in Contemporary Southeast Asia earlier this year.

    “Resources can boom and other sectors of the economy can be hurt,” says Bissinger."

    Read "Investors and the new economy"

  • Myanmar Times - Land prices deter investorsMyanmar Times - Land prices deter investors

  • Publication: Myanmar Times
    Title: Land prices deter investors
    Date: July 2012
    Excerpt: "Jared Bissinger, a PhD candidate at Australia’s Macquarie University who is studying Myanmar’s economy, said the country needed to be careful not to fall victim to the resource curse.

    “Over the past decade Myanmar’s inward foreign direct investment [FDI] has become heavily concentrated in the extractive and power sectors, while investment in manufacturing, services and other secondary and tertiary sectors has been almost non-existent,” Mr Bissinger wrote in his latest journal article, titled “Foreign Investment in Myanmar”, published in Contemporary Southeast Asia earlier this year.

    He said Australia was an example of a booming resource economy with high labour costs that in turn placed pressure on manufacturing and other industries that compete internationally.

    “Resources can boom and other sectors of the economy can be hurt,” Mr Bissinger said.

    “The dangers are [that] you get a lot of resource investment which drives up the currency and can make it difficult for someone to come here and start up a manufacturing facility.”"

    Read "Land prices deter investors"

  • Democratic Voice of Burma - Burmese SMEs demand an equal chance under FDI lawsDemocratic Voice of Burma - Burmese SMEs demand an equal chance under FDI laws

  • Publication: Democratic Voice of Burma
    Title: Burmese SMEs demand an equal chance under FDI laws
    Date: 19 June 2012
    Author: Kate Kelly
    Excerpt: "Jared Bissinger, a PhD candidate at Macquarie University studying Burma’s economy and a consultant with Vriens and Partners says he doesn’t recommend a tax exemption for foreign businesses.

    “This part of the new FDI law is certainly creating the biggest bones of contention so far and domestic business doesn’t like it,” says Bissinger.

    “You want to create a level playing field for all business so there’s no need to prejudice one over the other.”"

    Read "Burmese SMEs demand an equal chance under FDI laws"

  • The Diplomat - Burma's Business RevolutionThe Diplomat - Burma's Business Revolution

  • Publication: The Diplomat
    Title: Burma's Business Revolution
    Date: 25 January 2012
    Author: Tefor Moss
    Excerpt: "Resource extraction and power generation are the two sectors that have attracted the most foreign interest so far, accounting for almost all of the $20 billion in foreign investment pledges received in the year to March 2011, as Jared Bissinger has already discussed elsewhere on The Diplomat."

    Read "Burma's Business Revolution"

  • Full Steam Ahead: The Burma BoomFull Steam Ahead: The Burma Boom

  • Publication: The Diplomat
    Title: Full Steam Ahead: The Burma Boom
    Date: 22 December 2012
    Author: Simon Roughneen

    Excerpt: "The new foreign investment law isn't perfect by any means, and gives a lot of discretion to the investment commission to rule on whether a proposed investment is valid or not, opening the way for possible corruption,"

    Read "Full Steam Ahead:  The Burma Boom"