Regulatory Reform and Bureaucracy in Southeast Asia: Variations and Consequences


  • David S. Jones


Reform of government regulation of private business has been considered a cornerstone of good governance and a necessary condition for economic growth. Part of regulatory reform is reducing and streamlining administrative or procedural regulations imposed on business by government bureaucracies. Such regulations impose burdens on firms in terms of the time and effort required to file forms, delays in processing documents and applications and in granting approvals, transactional costs if charges are levied, and obstacles resulting from arbitrary decisions by government officials during the process. The article will consider the burdens on business caused by regulatory procedures imposed by bureaucracy in the countries of Southeast Asia, and how the reform of such procedures has varied across region, with a particular focus on certain key business functions, viz. starting a business, importing and exporting, paying taxes, and constructing a commercial building. The article will posit explanations of why such variation exists and will discuss links between reform of regulatory procedures and the level of social and economic development of a country. In conclusion, the scope for reform of regulatory procedures in those countries where they remain especially burdensome, will be examined, with consideration given to what reforms are necessary and feasible.

Author Biography

David S. Jones

David S. Jones is Associate Professor, Department of Public Policy and Administration, Faculty of Business, Economics, and Policy Studies, University of Brunei


How to Cite

Jones, D. S. (2014). Regulatory Reform and Bureaucracy in Southeast Asia: Variations and Consequences. International Public Management Review, 8(2), 97–116. Retrieved from