François Bafoil is a CNRS Senior Research Fellow at Sciences Po Paris. Before joining the CERI in 2003, he served as expert in charge of ex-ante assessment at the Ministry of Economy in Warsaw (2002-2003) and as a special advisor at the OECD for the Territorial Review Poland, (2008 He has been a consultant for the Asian Development Bank from 2006 till 2015 within Southeast Asia working on a comparative study of regional integration, growth poles and dams issues within the Greater Mekong Subregion. Since 2015 his research attention has focused on energy policies and energy poverty. He directs a  Masters in Global Energy Transitions and Governance at the European Institute, CIFE (

His most recent publications are: Capitalismes émergents. Economies politiques comparées en Europe centrale et en Asie du Sud-est, Paris: Presses de Sciences Po, 2012 ; Resilient States in a Comparative Perspective. Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia, Singapore: World Scientific Publishing, 2013 and Emerging Capitalism in Central Europe and Southeast Asia, Basingstoke UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014.

Summary of Project:

SEZs in the Greater Mekong Sub Region

In the Greater Mekong Sub Region economic and development policies focus exclusively on increasing trade cooperation, with no accompanying social policies. They concentrate entirely on developing internal markets and promoting international trade, without any concern with social questions. On the one hand, surveys of investors in different Special Economic Zones (SEZs) indicate high satisfaction levels in terms of labor costs and frequent praise of labor docility, particularly among female workers. Investor complaints focus on inadequate supplies of labor and poor skill levels, electricity blackouts, poor infrastructure, and, above all, on the lack of coordination among the agencies and ministries that are preset locally.  On the other hand, surveys of workers shed light on very poor working and living conditions, unpaid overtime, lack of trade union representation and violence within the zones. By analyzing and comparing different SEZs, the main objective of the research is to highlight the nature of economic governance, the involvement of public and private organizations, and, within a supra-national context, the influence of ASEAN. This research approach also seeks to shed light on the different forms of capitalism that are dominant in the region.