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The Role Of The Military In Myanmars Political Economy

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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This thesis examines the role of Myanmars military, the Tatmadaw, in the countrys political economy. Using a hybrid of the New Institutional Economics and the developmental state model as the analytical framework, a historical comparative analysis of Myanmars political economic institutions during its socialist period 19621988 and market liberalization period 19882010 reveals that the Tatmadaw was a major actor with a dominant role in shaping Myanmars political economic institutions. Myanmars socialist trajectory was enabled by the Tatmadaws monopoly of force and motivated largely by national security and the Tatmadaw leaders colonial experiences. Under the Tatmadaws leadership, socialist and militaristic institutions became ingrained in Myanmars political economy while the development of market-oriented institutions became significantly restrained. Although distorted political economic institutions caused the decline of Myanmars economy, the Tatmadaws desire to maintain political power was the key motivator for the regime to abandon socialism and embrace capitalism. Granted that Myanmars private sector has grown since market liberalization, lingering socialist-era norms continue to negatively influence the development of Myanmars economic policy and misshape emerging economic institutions.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Economics and Cost Analysis

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