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CESD-MSU Survey Quantitatively Measures Hopes of Rural Residents in Mon State through Three Essential Elements – Aspirations, Agency and Pathways
Attempting to quantitatively measure the hopes of rural residents in Myanmar’s Mon State, the Centre for Economic and Social Development (CESD) and Michigan State University (MSU) executed a household survey in the region in March 2016.
CESD, in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), undertook research into the existing state of subnational public finances and intergovernmental relationships to help build knowledge on the current state of fiscal decentralization in Myanmar, and to promote dialogue on the challenges and opportunities faced by Myanmar’s Union and subnational governments with public financial management reform.
For decades, Myanmar’s economic system was characterized by economic isolation and central planning. Today, however, as Myanmar is in the middle of a far-reaching political and economic transition, it is leaving this past behind. For Myanmar’s enterprises, and Small and Medium Sizes Enterprises (SMEs) in particular, the opening of the country’s economy in general and the intensification of regional economic integration more specifically, most notably through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community (AEC), bring both opportunities and challenges.
Data analysis from CESD’s Mon State Rural Household Survey (2015) is presented in a research report (July 2016) that identifies options for more balanced growth in Mon State, “leading to a vibrant economy in which returning migrants can invest and find employment.” The research report, prepared by CESD, in partnership with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Michigan State University (MSU), provides a set of initial recommendations for the establishment of a rural development strategy for Mon State. The recommendations are in two broad areas: (1) stimulating growth in agriculture and sustainable management of natural resources, and (2) providing public infrastructure and services that strengthen the enabling environment.
CESD, in partnership with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Michigan State University (MSU), analysed the substantial challenges facing the rural economy in Mon State, and report “there is good reason for optimism if the Mon State and Union governments can work together with the private sector, including farmers, to develop a vibrant rural economy that raises rural incomes and improves the welfare of the rural population.”
CESD’s recent working paper on the implementation of Myanmar’s new minimum wage features in the ARTNeT August 2016 newsletter. ARTNeT is the Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade, a network of leading trade research institutions and think-tanks, with a community of more than 1,000 individual researchers from across the Asia-Pacific region. CESD has been an active member of ARTNeT since May 2016.
Examining the issues related to women living in poverty in Myanmar, this short paper shares Myanmar’s experience on poverty reduction and inclusive growth as a means of alleviating poverty for women in Myanmar.
CESD’s Labor Market Reform Working Paper No. 1/2016 identifies three focus areas for policy makers to ensure an effective implementation of the recent minimum wage system, namely:
- ensuring that businesses comply with the new minimum wage law and government agencies enforce the law;
- monitoring and measuring the impacts of the minimum wage policy on different variables, including formal jobs, informal employment, wage levels, wage distribution, poverty, and social welfare;
- ongoing reviews and adjustments to the minimum wage system, to ensure it remains relevant and appropriate under changing economic and social conditions.
CESD’s demographic research surveys in Mon State in 2015 revealed some startling figures on migration – nearly half of all households surveyed had sent at least one person to live and work in Thailand. Dr Zaw Oo, CESD Executive Director, discusses the research results, and the impact of these, in an article in the Nikkei Asian Review on 23 June 2016. To manage this trend, Dr Zaw Oo proposes a long-term compact between Thailand and Myanmar, based on the concept of “circular migration.” Such a compact could help Myanmar migrants in Thailand integrate better, providing better and higher-skilled manpower, while also assisting migrants when they return to Myanmar.