Myths and Facts about Inequalities in Thailand
This paper analyzes inequalities in Thailand over the past three decades and the implications of Covid-19 on existing inequalities. We show that while total income and consumption inequalities in Thailand have been declining, it raises concerns regarding some drivers behind the declining trends. First, the decline in income inequality among the older households is largely driven by private transfers. Given Thailand’s demographic transformation into aging society, this channel is not sustainable. Second, despite the increasing longevity trend, household heads aged 55-69 years old have become inactive in the labor markets over the years. Among active households, the earnings inequality among households who mainly earn from farming activities has risen. However, such increase was masked at the aggregate level because of the higher shares of households working in non-farm sectors and the decline in their earnings inequality. Third, while consumption inequality has fallen similarly to income inequality for all age groups, the low-income households remain highly exposed to income shock. These poor households have much higher shares of essential spending, which are harder to adjust. Finally, while the full effects of Covid-19 on inequality are still unfolding, our evidence shows that in the short-run the poor and the low educated are vulnerable to job and earnings losses.
How Do Taxpayers Respond to Tax Subsidy for Long-term Savings? Evidence from Thailand’s Tax Return Data
This paper uses a panel of personal income tax return data for the population of Thai tax filers to examine how individuals respond to tax subsidy for long-term savings. We utilize the 2013 tax reform that lowered the price subsidy for long-term savings in order to obtain causal identification. Our difference-in-difference analysis illustrates that there is a considerable heterogeneity in the individual responses to the subsidy cut—with middle-income taxpayers responding much greater than their high-income counterparts. Among the middle-income group, we also find that the subsidy reduction has larger effects on decisions of smaller contributors. Finally, we provide some suggestive evidence that taxpayers who are younger, less financially sophisticated and less financially disciplined exhibit stronger responses to the subsidy cut. Our findings shed light on the heterogeneity of individual responses which are crucial for policymakers who consider an incremental change in the existing tax incentive scheme.
All I have to do is dream? The role of aspirations in intergenerational mobility and well-being
We study the determinants and consequences of educational and occupational aspirations. Basing our enquiry on the British NCDS 1958 cohort data, we assess the importance of aspirations for social mobility above and beyond other established determinants. We document educational and occupational inequalities in young individuals’ aspirations, whereby parental aspirations are a strong predictor of children’s aspiration-levels. While we find a positive correlation between aspirations and later achievement, we also provide evidence for reduced well-being in adulthood if aspirations in adolescence were higher than actual achievements later in life.
The Income and Consumption Effects of Covid-19 and the Role of Public Policy
This paper provides empirical evidence on how the labour market impacts of the covid-19 pandemic vary across workers’ incomes, assets, characteristics and household structures in the UK. Using data from the UK Household Longitudinal Study, we find that less educated and young workers are most likely to be laid-off. This is particularly the case for females. Moreover, less educated workers tend to have low income and low assets, limiting their ability to maintain consumption in the face of reduced income. This is compounded at the household level by assortative partnering between workers with similar education levels. We analyse the source of these inequalities by relating employment outcomes to factors related occupational and industrial characteristics. We then conduct a quantitative assessment of the likely impact of covid-19 on households’ consumption and find that, because the adverse labour market impacts are concentrated on workers with low income and low assets, 70 percent of households in the bottom fifth of the income distribution cannot maintain their usual expenditure for even one week. Finally, we consider the effectiveness and distributional implications of two different policy interventions: the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in the UK and Economic Impact Payments in the US. Our findings suggest that both policies can alleviate the increase in consumption inequality that would have otherwise arisen during the pandemic. In the short term, the US-style one-off payment is most effective at providing affected households with the means to smooth consumption. However, the CJRS provides better insurance against prolonged disruption as the program provides continuous income support.
Common Ownership, Domestic Competition, and Export: Evidence from Thailand
We use administrative data of all registered firms in Thailand, both public and private, to study the relationships between common ownership, market power, and firms’ export behaviors. Our results suggest that firms in ownership networks tend to have higher market power as measured by markup. In addition, markup is negatively associated with a firm’s propensity to export, its likelihood of product upgrade, and the chance of survival in foreign markets. Our findings have policy implications on antitrust regulations and competitiveness policies, especially in export-oriented economies dominated by powerful business conglomerates.
Understanding the Bimodality of the Export Intensity Distribution in Thailand
The literature has established a pattern that exporters in developed countries sell most of their output in their domestic markets. However, recent evidence finds that firm-level export intensity, defined as the ratio of exports to revenue, in at least 47 countries is bimodally distributed. In this paper, we investigate the determinants of the bimodality of Thailand’s export intensity distribution by using Thailand’s manufacturing firm-level census data covering the period between 2007-2017. We do not find evidence that firm productivity can explain the variation in export intensity. We document that firms with export intensity at least 90 percent, so-called “pure exporters,” can be explained by (i) the firm’s characteristics, (ii) the demand-side factor, and (iii) the government’s policy. Pure exporters are relatively young, have foreign ownership, produce narrow product variety, and export to high-income countries. The government’s policy, such as investment promotion, can raise firms’ export intensity and encourage firms to become pure exporters, there by emphasizing another important channel through which the government can increase exports.
Cash flow uncertainty and IPO underpricing: Evidence from Thai REITs
REIT IPOs in Thailand are less underpriced than stock IPOs (2.45% compared to 23.0%), which is a common finding across many international markets (Chan, Chen and Wang, 2013). One of the most common explanations for IPO underpricing is adverse selection arising from information asymmetry. However, research in IPO tends not to investigate this issue directly due to the difficulty in estimating ex-ante uncertainty. REITs provide a unique research setting because some REITs enjoy income guarantee, which can reduce cash flow uncertainty. We find that REITs with income guarantee are much less underpriced on average, corroborating the linkage between cash flow uncertainty and IPO underpricing. We confirm that REITs with income guarantee tend to have lower systematic risk (measured by CAPM beta) and returns, making the nature of some REITs more debt-like than equity-like.
Effect of Minimum Wage on Changes in the Thai Labor Market
This study evaluates the effect of the minimum wage on changes in the Thai labor market from 2002 to 2010, when the real minimum wage gradually decreased, and 2011 to 2013 when the real minimum wage substantially increased. These changes include labor force participation, employment, dis-employment, weekly working hours, real hourly wages, real hourly total labor income, and various other types of income. This study uses the individual-level panel data generated from the Matched-Outgoing Rotation Group (Matched-ORG) of the Thai Labor Force Survey. We observed the negative effect of minimum wage on employment, where the elasticity was in the range of – 0.0029 to -0.0474. We also observed the dis-employment for the foreign workers. We found that firms adjust working hours and various types of income to mitigate minimum wage shock. We conclude that the competitive equilibrium theory can reasonably explain the effect of minimum wage on employment as well as the overall changes in the Thai labor market from 2002 to 2013.
Bunching for Free Electricity
This paper documents the impacts of Thailand’s Free Basic Electricity program on electricity consumption behavior. Under the program, households who use less than 50 units are exempt from paying their electricity bill in that month, while households who use more than 50 units have to pay for the full amount. The program thus creates a large notch in the household’s budget set. In contrast to existing literature that finds little or no bunching, we observe a distinct bunching of electricity consumption around the threshold. Nonetheless, the excess bunching is still small compared to the overall distribution. We provide possible explanations on the role of various optimization frictions.
Delinquency Priority in Consumer Credit: Evidence from Thai Microdata
This study examines the question of how consumer prioritize default across products. We find that about a third of Thai individuals who face default decisions on mortgage and non-mortgage loans choose to default on mortgage loans first. As predicted by theory, their decisions are influenced by relative debt burden and amount of housing equity, consistent with both the ability to pay and the willingness to pay channels. We also find a puzzling result that borrowers who hold older mortgage loans are more likely to default on their mortgages; we hypothesize that this is perhaps related to refinancing.