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.
Abstract: Given its unpredictable nature, urban sprawl in the Mediterranean region is considered an intriguing (and intricate) socioeconomic issue. Since the 1970s, urban dispersion advanced rapidly in southern Europe—irrespective of a city’s size and morphology—with urbanization rates growing faster than population. A comparison between the metropolitan areas of Barcelona, Rome and Athens reveals how sprawl has occurred in different ways in the three cities, highlighting peculiar relationships between urbanization, land-use and economic structures. Sharing common drivers of change related to population dynamics, socio-spatial structure and deregulated urban expansion, sprawl has adapted to the local economic, cultural and environmental context. Barcelona shows a dispersion pattern towards a more spatially-balanced morphology, with expanding sub-centres distributed around the central city, Rome appears to be mostly scattered around the historical city with fragmented urban fabric and heterogeneous economic functions, Athens is denser, with polarized economic spaces and social segregation. Understanding how place-specific factors influence processes of settlement dispersion in Mediterranean contexts may inform policies of urban containment and land-use management.
Abstract: Healthcare payments could drive households with no health insurance coverage into financial catastrophe, which might lead them to cut spending on necessities, sell assets, or use credit. In extreme cases, healthcare payments could have devastating consequences on the household economic status that would push them into extreme poverty. Using nationally representative surveys from three Arab countries, namely, Egypt, Jordan, and Palestine, this paper examines the incidence, intensity and distribution of catastrophic health payments, and assesses the poverty impact of out-of-pocket health payments (OOP). The OOP for healthcare were considered catastrophic if it exceeded 10% of a household’s total expenditure or 40% of non-food expenditure. The poverty impact was evaluated using poverty head counts and poverty gaps before and after OOP. Results show that OOP exacerbate households’ living severely in Egypt, pushing more than one-fifth of the population into a financial catastrophe and 3% into extreme poverty in 2011. However, in Jordan and Palestine, the disruptive impact of OOP remains modest over time. In the three countries, the catastrophic health payment is the problem of the better off households. Poverty alleviation policies should help reduce the reliance on OOP to finance healthcare. Moving toward universal health coverage could also be a promising option to protect households from the catastrophic economic consequences of health care payments.
Abstract: How does a redistribution of trade gains affect welfare when income inequality matters? To answer this question, we extend the  model to unionized labor markets and heterogeneous workers. As redistribution schemes, we consider unemployment benefits that are financed either by a wage tax, a payroll tax or a profit tax. Assuming that welfare declines in income inequality, we find that welfare increases up to a maximum in the case of wage tax funding, while welfare declines weakly (sharply) if a profit tax (payroll tax) is implemented. These effects are caused by the wage tax neutrality (due to union wage setting) and by a profit tax-induced decline in long-term unemployment. As a result, the government’s optimal redistribution scheme is to finance unemployment benefits by a wage tax.