Cambodia's Special Economic Zones

29 Pages Posted: 29 Dec 2015

See all articles by Peter G. Warr

Peter G. Warr

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy

Jayant Menon

Asian Development Bank; Asian Development Bank Institute

Date Written: October 2015


This study examines the role of special economic zones (SEZs) within the trade policy of Cambodia. It asks whether Cambodia’s establishment of SEZs since late 2005 has been successful, based on the evidence to date, and analyzes the appropriate role and management of SEZs over the next decade or more. The study finds that the SEZs have attracted significant levels of foreign investment into Cambodia that would not have been present otherwise. These investments have created around 68,000 jobs, with equal or better pay and better prospects than the alternatives that would otherwise have existed, raising the economic welfare of the workers concerned. A feature of the Cambodian experience is that the government has left the establishment and management of the zones to private sector developers, avoiding the large and sometimes wasteful public sector set up costs associated with SEZ establishment in many other countries.

Keywords: Cambodia, foreign investment, production networks, special economic zones

JEL Classification: F21, F23, F63

Suggested Citation

Warr, Peter G. and Menon, Jayant, Cambodia's Special Economic Zones (October 2015). Asian Development Bank Economics Working Paper Series No. 459, Available at SSRN: or

Peter G. Warr

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy ( email )

ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
J.G. Crawford Building, #132, Lennox Crossing
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200

Jayant Menon (Contact Author)

Asian Development Bank ( email )

6 ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong City 1550
Metro Manila

Asian Development Bank Institute ( email )

Kasumigaseki Building 8F 3-2-5
Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku
Tokyo, 100-6008

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