The Lao Economy: Capitalizing on Natural Resource Exports

Date: January 2013
Type: Papers and Briefs
Series: Economics Working Papers
ISSN: 1655-5252 (print)
Author: Menon, Jayant; Warr, Peter


Trade and investment reforms in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) since the mid-1980s have boosted natural resource-based exports, underpinning recent economic growth. A high proportion of the proceeds from these exports accrue directly to the government. Over the 8 years preceding 2011, total government revenue increased from 11% to over 19% of gross domestic product, due almost entirely to revenues derived from mining and hydropower. The effect on the Lao people depends on how the government uses these revenues. This paper examines how the Lao PDR’s export-led growth can be channeled into directions that deliver the greatest benefit to the Lao people.


  • Abstract
  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Development of the Lao Economy
  • Natural Resource Revenues and the Dutch Disease
  • Policy Opportunities and Challenges for the Lao PDR
  • References