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Economies 2016, 4(1), 1; doi:10.3390/economies4010001

Falling Behind, Forging Ahead and Falling Behind Again: Thailand from 1870 to 2014

SOAS (The School of Oriental and African Studies), University of London, London WC1H 0XG, UK
Academic Editor: David O. Dapice
Received: 21 September 2015 / Revised: 16 January 2016 / Accepted: 18 January 2016 / Published: 22 January 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economic Development in Southeast Asia)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [259 KB, uploaded 26 January 2016]

Abstract

The paper argues that Thailand’s economic and social development from the late 19th century to the early 21st century presents a puzzle. For much of the period from 1870 to 1940, the country’s economic growth was slow, and the economy remained agricultural, with little diversification into modern industry or services. It was the only Southeast Asian country to escape direct colonization, and yet it did not use its relative freedom from colonial control to embark on a programme of accelerated economic, social and political modernization. The contrast with Meiji Japan has been made by several Thai and foreign scholars, but Thailand’s growth was also slow in comparison with several neighbouring countries under colonial control. Only in the late 1950s did economic growth start to accelerate and by 1996, per capita GDP was well ahead of other ASEAN countries except Malaysia and Singapore. The paper explores the reasons for the accelerated growth, looking particularly at the role of government. The paper also examines the reasons for the growth collapse of 1997/1998, and the slower economic growth since then. View Full-Text
Keywords: Thailand; economic growth; Japan; Philippines; catch-up; crisis Thailand; economic growth; Japan; Philippines; catch-up; crisis
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Booth, A. Falling Behind, Forging Ahead and Falling Behind Again: Thailand from 1870 to 2014. Economies 2016, 4, 1.

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