Publication in Economics, Politics and Public Policy in East Asia and the Pacific


ASEAN needs Laos’ leadership

Author: Buavanh Vilavong, ANU

Laos has announced a new leadership team amid calls for the country, as the ASEAN Chair for 2016, to unite ASEAN on territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Read more…

China’s expanding influence in Laos

Author: Samuel Ku, Sun Yat-sen University

The recently signed Joint General Scheme of Mohan–Boten Economic Cooperation Zone is the first cross-border economic cooperation zone that China has established in Laos and, for that matter, in the whole of Southeast Asia. The deal hints at the Asian giant’s goal to expand its economic ties with its southern neighbours.

Read more…

New opportunities for US–Laos relations

Author: Murray Hiebert, CSIS

Leadership changes announced at the 10th Congress of the ruling Lao People’s Revolutionary Party will give the United States an opportunity to boost ties with Laos when President Barack Obama visits Vientiane in September 2016. This will be the first visit ever to Laos by a sitting US president. Read more…

What the AEC means for Laos

Authors: Buavanh Vilavong, ANU and Simon Hess, WTO

The ASEAN economic community (AEC), which will be enacted on 31 December 2015, presents new opportunities for Laos, but it also underlines significant challenges. Laos has long been a country of promise given its resources and geographic proximity to China and the ASEAN members. Yet, despite relatively high growth over the last two decades, the country remains among the world’s poorest nations. Read more…

Rising inequality hampers poverty reduction in Laos

Authors: Peter Warr, ANU, Sitthiroth Rasphone, NERI, and Jayant Menon, ADB

Since 1990, global inequality has declined, following almost two centuries of gradual increase. Inequality has fallen between countries, but increased, on average, within countries. On average, poor countries have grown more rapidly than rich countries, causing between-country inequality to fall. Most, though not all, economic literature on inequality has focused on the increase within rich countries. Read more…

Business support crucial for Laos to join the AEC and lock in growth

Author: Buavanh Vilavong, ANU

The accession of Laos to the World Trade Organization in 2013 was the latest in a series of steps towards achieving economic integration. The next milestone in its integration agenda is the establishment of the ASEAN economic community at the end of 2015. Read more…

After joining the WTO, what’s next for Laos?

Author: Buavanh Vilavong, ANU

Earlier this year Laos celebrated the first anniversary of its WTO membership. Laos’ accession to the WTO has been less talked about than that of its neighbours China and Vietnam, who joined the organisation in 2001 and 2007, respectively. This is partly due to Laos being a small, landlocked economy whose accession would not be expected to make a big impact on international trade.

But Laos’ clout is more than may first appear. Read more…

Laos’ dam schemes challenge regional cooperation

Author: Sarinda Singh, The University of Queensland

The construction of Don Sahong dam on the Mekong River in southern Laos is provoking a great deal of international criticism, especially for a dam with a relatively small generating capacity of 260 megawatts. Read more…