Spillovers from Special Economic Zones: Evidence from Myanmar

Investigators: Amit Khandelwal, Rocco Machiavello, and Matthieu Teachout

In 2015, as part of its ongoing economic and political reforms, Myanmar launched its first Special Economic Zone (SEZ) on the outskirts of Yangon. In partnership with the International Growth Centre, we are evaluating the impact of the zone for Myanmar, focusing on human capital development. First, we will evaluate the skills that Myanmar managers are acquiring while working for the foreign companies at the zone. Then we will track these managers as they change jobs and evaluate if and how these skills help improve the productivity of domestic companies located outside the zone. Pilot surveys have revealed that there are significant frictions to integrating domestic managers into the everyday operations of the companies at the SEZ. We plan to survey domestic managers to understand these frictions and to design experiments to remove these frictions.

International Growth Centre Policy Note, February 2016.

The project is part of CDEP’s Firms and Innovation Initiative.