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Jared Bissinger

First Name: Jared
Surname: Bissinger
Department Dept of Economics
Supervisor(s): Sean Turnell , Wiley Bradford

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Paper Title

Determinants of Firm Level Growth and Hiring in Myanmar


For much of the last half-century, Myanmar’s economy has developed mostly in self-imposed isolation, during which time government intervention in and regulation of the economy affected firm incentives and performance significantly. The dissertation is based on a unique set of firm level data from 153 companies in Myanmar. The randomized, stratified survey was conducted in conjunction with the one of the country’s leading NGOs and with the approval of the country’s chamber of commerce. The survey contained over 110 different questions covering six major topics, including firm characteristics, firm perceptions of the business environment, labor, capital, finance, and firm performance.

Using this data, I will first examine determinants of firm level growth for the 150+ firms based on variables including size, ownership, sector, firm characteristics and a number of proxy measures for a firms connections with government (for example percentage of sales to government). The second section will also focus on firm level growth, but will use perceptions based measures of the business environment as the variables. The third section will examine firm hiring, to determine the characteristics of firms that increase hiring and the types of hiring that occur. The last section will draw on these and the qualitative interviews to posit theories about influences on the structure of the economy and how those could affect firm level growth.


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.


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.


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.


Myanmar, Burma, Business Environment, Macroeconomic Policy