Two-Polar Growth Strategy in Myanmar: Seeking “High” and “Balanced” Development

Discussion Papers


by Toshihiro KUDO and Satoru KUMAGAI

November 2012


The Thein Sein government of Myanmar seeks higher and balanced economic growth. This is a challenge for the government since some economic literature identifies a trade-off between higher economic growth and better regional equality, especially for countries in the early stages of development. In this paper, we propose a two-polar growth strategy as one that includes both “high” and “balanced” growth. The first growth pole is Yangon, and the second is Mandalay. Nay Pyi Taw, the national capital, will develop as an administrative centre, not as an economic or commercial one. We also propose border development with enhanced connectivity with richer neighboring countries as a complementary strategy to the two growth poles. Effects of the two-polar growth strategy with border development are tested using a Geographical Simulation Model (GSM).

Keywords: Yangon, Mandalay, economic geography, agglomeration, regional inequality, border development, population, poverty alleviation, connectivity
JEL classification: F23, L67

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