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The Impact of Economic, Regional, and Political Structure on Income Inequality and Economic Growth in Thailand: Does The Kuznets’ Hypothesis Hold in Thailand from 1960 to 2018?
Date of Award
Bachelor of Science
Prof. Ibrahim Shikaki
This paper aims to examine the relationship between income inequality and economic growth in Thailand through re-examining the structure of the economic, regional, and political economy. It explores the existence of the Kuznets’ curve from 1960 to 2018. The Kuznets’ Curve, an inverted U-shaped relationship between income inequality and economic growth, assumes income inequality will rise in the early stages of economic development, and will subsequently decrease in later stages. This thesis seeks to put the literature on the history of the economic, regional, and political economy of Thailand in conversation with Thai data to examine the existence of the Kuznets’ curve and the determinants of income inequality. Past economic research on income inequality trends in Thailand and elsewhere tend to be more geared towards an econometrics regression analysis, however, due to the lack of accuracy and reliability in Thai data and the importance of understanding the individualistic structure of Thailand that has resulted in a deeply rooted income inequality structure, this thesis took on a different path. Additionally, using national data and data calculated by multiple economic literature sources from 1960 to 2012, this paper also developed a way to graph the Kuznets’ Inverted U-Shaped Curve for developing countries, like Thailand, that do not experience stable economic growth. The observed dynamics of Thailand shows contradicting results to the Kuznets’ hypothesis and a more generalized Kuznets’ Hypothesis that allows the Kuznets’ Inverted U-Shaped Curve to occur more than once, developed by Ikemoto and Uehera (2000), may be more appropriate to look at Thailand’s economy. However, the preconceived beliefs of the elites have contributed to the lag in the growth of the agricultural sector and rural areas, despite much of the population working in the agricultural sector, compared to the industrial and service sector and urban areas. Regional inequality also continues to persist due to the varying level of economic and social development between each region and Thailand’s focus being on the growth of its capital, Bangkok, and its surrounding areas. Therefore, future policies implications for reducing income inequality in Thailand are presented in order to try to decrease the income gap between those living in Thailand.
Sukhum, Pa, "The Impact of Economic, Regional, and Political Structure on Income Inequality and Economic Growth in Thailand: Does The Kuznets’ Hypothesis Hold in Thailand from 1960 to 2018?". Senior Theses, Trinity College, Hartford, CT 2022.
Trinity College Digital Repository, https://digitalrepository.trincoll.edu/theses/1013
Senior thesis completed at Trinity College Hartford CT for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Economics. Full text access is limited to the Trinity campus.