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.
Digital Thailand: Analyzing the Impact of Broadband Connectivity on Firm Productivity
Using a large dataset of almost 100,000 manufacturing establishments in Thailand, this paper studies the impact of broadband internet connectivity on firms’ total factor productivity (TFP). The author finds that, for micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises, broadband adoption can raise productivity by 23% to 54%. These results support the government’s policies in building the country’s broadband infrastructure. Although the results reveal substantial benefits of broadband adoption, especially for smaller-sized firms, only about 30% of firms reported adopting broadband or having any types of ICT investments. Perhaps, more could be done to encourage broadband adoptions and private ICT investments for firms of all sizes.
Reshaping Thailand’s Labor Market Structure: The Unified Forces of Technology and Trade
Improvements in technology can have substantial impact on the labor market both directly and indirectly via changes in global trade patterns. This paper studies the potential impact of computerization and reshoring/relocating of operations by firms on Thailand’s labor market. Specifically, the analysis is built upon Frey and Osborne’s (2017) approach and incorporates additional measures of trade-base tasks. This is so that the revised machine-learning model can account for both the impact of technology and change in global trade patterns. Our results revealed that occupations that are mostly affected are service and sales workers, and agricultural and fishery workers. In the worst-case scenario, approximately one-third of existing jobs (12.14 million jobs) could be at risk. However, in real situations, new types of jobs may be created, workers may voluntarily adjust, or other factors could drive some overseas operations back to Thailand. Therefore, the potential outlook for Thailand’s labor market may not be as severe as the model has predicted.
Farms, Farmers and Farming: A Perspective through Data and Behavioral Insights
This paper aims to contribute to a better understanding of Thai agriculture, the sector that currently employs about one third of the country’s labor force. We first draw out key stylized facts on our farms, farmers and farming from various granular farmer’s administrative data sets that allow us to observe what has happened at the plot, labor and household levels over the past decade, and cover more than 90% of farmers nationwide. We then use a stochastic frontier analysis to identify key drivers of household’s agricultural productivity, and project the potential productivity impacts from the four key driving factors: climate change, aging, irrigation and technology for every tambon nationwide. A meta-analysis is then used to illustrate the landscape of technological development throughout the rice value chain in Thailand. Finally, we use lab in the field experiments to understand behavioral insights that underly farmer’s incentives particularly in the context of technological adoption. Our results shed some lights on how to design, prioritize and implement policies to ensure that our farmers stay competitive, resilient and sustainable.
Insurance and Propagation in Village Networks
We study the dual role of networks in providing insurance and in propagating idiosyncratic shocks by using variation in the timing of severe shocks on health spending experienced by households in Thai villages. We find no impacts on food consumption. Smoothing is largely achieved through local gift and loan networks. However, insurance is partial for some households so they adjust their production decisions-drawing on their working capital, cutting input spending, and reducing labor hiring, hence propagating the shocks to other households. Wefind that upstream businesses close to the underinsured households in the supply chain network experience reduced local sales and increased inventories. Likewise, workers closer to the underinsured households in the labor network experience declined probability of working locally and reduced earnings. We find evidence of ex-post adjustments of these upstream households through shifting resources towards activities with lower exposure to local shocks. Our results suggest that social (village-level) gains of expanding health insurance might be higher than private (household-level) gains.
The Impact of Regional Isolationism: Disentangling Real and Financial Factors
Recently, there is a pressure for isolation policies both within the United States and among the EU members. The pressure arises due not only to the difference between regions in the U.S. and/or countries in the EU, but also to the difference across their population which affect the gains and losses from economic integration, both real as from trade in a common market and financial as in a monetary financial union. To get a better understanding of this pressure, one would need a model of trade and capital flows that takes into account the difference between individuals in a region and differences across regions. There is also a need for detail data at the individual and aggregated level, which often are not available. In this paper, we use unique long-panel data of households in Thailand, and from these data, we construct the household financial accounts, the village economic accounts, and the village balance of payments account. We also provide stylized facts on factor prices, factor intensities, financial obstacles, and village openness document differences across regions. Finally at the national level it is clear there is co-mingled variation in trade via devaluations and in finance via policies toward off shore bank and within-country financial infrastructure.
We develop a heterogeneous-agent/occupational-choices/trade model with financial frictions carefully built up and calibrated around micro and regional facts, that is, at both the individual level and the aggregate level. Then, we conduct two counterfactual policy experiments. In the first counterfactual experiment, we distinguish the effects of trade from the effects of capital flows. More specifically, we determine what would happen if we allow the prices of goods to change as in baseline scenario while keep borrowing limits and interest rates constant, and vice versa. In the second counterfactual experiment, we determine the effect of isolation policies that impede trade and/or capital flows across regions. We find through these counterfactual experiments that both real and financial factors are at play, that there are differences across regions in impact even when (policy) movements in variables such as interest rates and relative prices, which are exogenous to the regions, are common; impacts can be large, and vary with policy; and impacts are significant heterogeneous with both gains and losses and non-monotone movement across wealth classes and occupations, even allowing for occupation shifts which apriori might have mitigated impact.
Parenthood Penalty and Gender Wage Gap: Recent Evidence from Thailand
This study first examines the evolution of gender wage gap in Thailand, using cross-sectional data from the Labor Force Survey (LFS) for 1985–2017. We find that education, occupation, and industry significantly contribute to gender wage gap convergence in Thailand. Furthermore, for females, the wage gap between mothers and non-mothers has increased over time, while for males, the changes are relatively small. Thereafter, we examine the gender wage gap associated with marriage and parental status, using panel data from the Socio-Economic Survey (SES) for 2005– 2012, and find wage penalty for both motherhood and fatherhood in Thailand.
The Journey to Less-Cash Society: Thailand’s Payment System at a Crossroads
Digital technology is changing the way we transact and pay each other, but cash usage remains dominant in many countries. In Thailand, it remains a question whether and to what extent electronic payments (e-payment) can replace cash. What is the role of a central bank amid challenges and opportunities at this crossroads? The paper explores global trends in cash and e-payment and outlines Thailand’s existing retail payment landscape. Both physical and IT/ICT infrastructure are assessed at micro-level with regard to Thailand’s readiness to move away from cash. However, given coexistence of cash and e-payment at present, we explore ways in which efficiency of cash management process can be improved. Data on cash distribution by geographical area are utilized to illustrate usage of Thai consumers and identify costs and inefficiency associated with cash management. On the other hand, adoption of e-payment can play a critical role in moving toward a less-cash society, if not a cashless one. The paper highlights the latest data on e-payment behavior in Thailand, especially PromptPay transactions as well as mobile/internet transactions after the transfer fee reduction in March 2018.
Household Debt and Delinquency over the Life Cycle
This paper uses loan-level data from Thailand’s National Credit Bureau to study household debt over the life cycle of borrowers. The wide coverage and the granularity of the data allow us to decompose the aggregate, commonly-used debt per capita and delinquency rate into components that unveil the extensive and intensive margins of household indebtedness. This decomposition allows us to analyze debt holding, debt portfolio, and delinquency for each age and cohort. We find the striking inverted-U life cycle patterns of indebtedness as predicted by economic theories. However, peaks are reached at different ages for different loan products and different lenders. We also find that debt has expanded over time for all age groups. In particular, the younger cohorts seem to originate debt earlier in their lives than the older generations. Meanwhile, older borrowers remain indebted well past their retirement age. Finally, we find a downward pattern of delinquency over the life cycle. Our findings have important policy implications on financial access and distress of households as well as economic development and financial stability of the economy.
Stylized Facts on Thailand’s Residential Electricity Consumption: Evidence from the Provincial Electricity Authority
This paper documents a few stylized facts of the residential electricity consumption in Thailand. Using an administrative billing records of 16 million residential meters, we find the following stylized facts and potential uses of the data. First, electricity consumption pattern can be used as proxies for household’s wealth and wealth inequality since it reflects ownership of durable electrical appliances. Second, bill payment choices suggest that a majority of the households still face non-trivial transaction costs in paying their utility bills. Lastly, the electricity consumption pattern suggests that wealthier households are more sensitive to the temperature change but are less sensitive to the change in price.