2022 Index of Economic Freedom

Burma

OVERALL SCORE49.6
WORLD RANK149
Rule of Law

Property Rights23.1

Judicial Effectiveness16.7

Government Integrity29.8

Government Size

Tax Burden87.2

Government Spending86.8

Fiscal Health67.2

Regulatory Efficiency

Business Freedom41.7

Labor Freedom49.6

Monetary Freedom73.9

Open Markets

Trade Freedom69.4

Investment Freedom30.0

Financial Freedom20.0

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Quick Facts
  • Population:
    • 54.4 million
  • GDP (PPP):
    • $278.8 billion
    • 3.2% growth
    • 5.7% 5-year compound annual growth
    • $5,242 per capita
  • Unemployment:
    • 1.8%
  • Inflation (CPI):
    • 5.7%
  • FDI Inflow:
    • $1.8 billion

Burma’s economic freedom score is 49.6, making its economy the 149th freest in the 2022 Index. Burma is ranked 32nd among 39 countries in the Asia–Pacific region, and its overall score is below the regional and world averages.

Over the past five years, Burma has enjoyed economic growth averaging well over 5 percent annually, though growth has slowed recently. A five-year trend of growing economic freedom has been broken. Led by score decreases in fiscal health and business freedom, Burma has recorded a 2.9-point overall loss of economic freedom since 2017 and has fallen from the “Mostly Unfree” category into the “Repressed” category. Monetary freedom is relatively strong, but investment freedom and financial freedom are very poor.

IMPACT OF COVID-19: As of December 1, 2021, 19,111 deaths had been attributed to the pandemic in Burma, and the government’s response to the crisis ranked 14th among the countries included in this Index in terms of its stringency. The economy grew by just 3.2 percent in 2020.

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Background

Despite some efforts at democratization in recent years, the military remains the dominant force in Burmese politics. In February 2021, the military executed a coup that installed Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing as head of state. The military’s action thwarted any possibility of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party’s building on its landslide victory in 2020 elections. Since the coup, the military has undermined freedom, targeted protestors, and imprisoned at least 5,000 people, including NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Burma now faces escalating international sanctions because of the coup. Wages in Burma remain low compared to wages in other Asian countries, and more than a quarter of the population lives in poverty.

Rule of Law

Property Rights 23.1 Create a Graph using this measurement

Judicial Effectiveness 16.7 Create a Graph using this measurement

Government Integrity 29.8 Create a Graph using this measurement

Enforcement of property rights and interests is not consistent. Land disputes involving foreign investments are common, and land titling is opaque. Mortgages and liens exist, but the recording system is unreliable. The judiciary is not independent, and courts at times fail to rule impartially. Corruption is endemic, and despite government initiatives aimed at curbing it, official corruption remains rampant at both the national and local levels.

Government Size

The top individual income and corporate tax rates are 25 percent. Other taxes include commercial and capital gains taxes. The overall tax burden equals 5.9 percent of total domestic income. Government spending has amounted to 21.0 percent of total output (GDP) over the past three years, and budget deficits have averaged 4.3 percent of GDP. Public debt is equivalent to 39.3 percent of GDP.

Regulatory Efficiency

Business freedom has deteriorated as a result of the military’s incompetence and suspension of Internet and other telecommunications. As of April 2021, services upon which many businesses rely such as customs, ports, and banks were not fully operating. Child labor and forced labor continue. A steep contraction of the economy after the February 2021 military coup has strained the government’s ability to fund subsidies.

Open Markets

Burma has eight preferential trade agreements in force. The trade-weighted average tariff rate is 5.3 percent. One formal nontariff measure is in effect, and other barriers to trade persist. Foreign and domestic private investment is restricted with key sectors reserved for government-controlled activity. Banking is dominated by state-owned banks, although several private banks have been in operation. Most loans are directed to government projects.

Country's Score Over Time

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Regional Ranking

RANK COUNTRY OVERALL CHANGE
1Singapore84.4-5.3
2New Zealand80.6-3.3
3Taiwan80.11.5
4Australia77.7-4.7
5South Korea74.60.6
6Japan69.9-4.2
7Samoa68.36.4
8Malaysia68.1-6.3
9Brunei Darussalam64.8-1.8
10Indonesia64.4-2.5
11Kazakhstan64.4-6.7
12Mongolia63.91.5
13Thailand63.2-6.5
14Vanuatu62.92.4
15Philippines61.1-3.0
16Micronesia6110.6
17Tonga60.83.3
18Vietnam60.6-1.1
19Bhutan59.31.0
20Kiribati59.214.8
21Cambodia57.1-0.2
22Solomon Islands56.50.0
23Fiji56.4-5.8
24Kyrgyz Republic55.8-7.9
25Uzbekistan55.7-2.6
26Papua New Guinea54.6-4.3
27India53.9-2.6
28Sri Lanka53.3-2.4
29Bangladesh52.7-3.8
30Tajikistan49.7-5.5
31Nepal49.7-1.0
32Burma49.6-5.6
33Laos49.2-4.7
34Pakistan48.8-2.9
35China48-10.4
36Maldives47.3-7.9
37Timor-Leste46.31.6
38Turkmenistan46.2-1.2
39North Korea3-2.2
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