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.
COVID-19 and Endogenous Public Avoidance: Insights from an Economic Model
In this paper, I study the transmission of COVID-19 in the dynamic SEIR (Susceptible, Exposed, Infectious, and Removed) model that allows individuals to optimally choose their public avoidance actions in response to the COVID-19 risk. I allow for heterogeneity in infection rates across age groups and structurally estimate the parameters to match the daily pattern of new cases and the ratio of patients by age group. Even in the absence of intervention, the elderly,
who face a greater risk of death from COVID-19, are more likely than the young to take self-protective actions. In contrast to models with a fixed transmission rate, my model can capture the heterogeneity in the fraction of infected individuals among different age groups.
Connecting Locals to Locals: Market Discovery through E-Commerce
Despite rapid growth in e-commerce, there has been little systematic research examining the impact of online commerce adoption on the entrepreneurs in ASEAN. Using a unique survey data of around 7,000 merchants on Shopee in Thailand, this paper seeks to fill that gap through a mix of econometric and trade connectivity analyses. We found that e-commerce adoption is associated with improvement in household incomes for the sellers. The benefits come from two different channels. First, e-commerce empowers existing SMEs by significantly boosting their revenue, efficiency, and profit growth. The improvement in profitability seems to go beyond a one-off gain as going online seems to also result in stronger profit growth rates. Second, our trade connectivity analysis illustrates how e-commerce allows merchants, especially those in the poorer regions, discover new market opportunity outside their own regions. In addition, e-commerce allows people of various employment status including full-time employees, homemakers, students, etc. to earn additional income, while maintaining other responsibilities.
Should All Blockchain-Based Digital Assets Be Classified Under the Same Asset Class?
The literature is well aware that blockchain-based digital assets would constitute a new asset class. However, it has been rather silent about the distinction among them. This paper discusses the digital tokens’ differences and similarities by their (i) creation and initial distribution; (ii) intended properties; (iii) actual usage; and (iv) behaviors. Although the digital tokens are indistinguishable in some aspects, they differ in the way they are created and initially distributed. Some of them have distinguishable risk and return profiles. Therefore, we take a view that the digital tokens take (or will take) different roles in the financial systems; should be classified under different asset classes; and should be subject to different sets of regulations (although some may overlap).
Estimating Demand for Long-term Care Insurance in Thailand: Evidence from a Discrete Choice Experiment
At present, the Thai public health insurance schemes cover medical care. However, the financial risk associated with long-term care needs is unprotected. The increasing likelihood of Thai elderly living longer and living alone has raised great concern about their quality of life. In the wake of the declining informal support capacity, a public long-term care insurance (LTCI) system has been considered as a potential alternative. Because the public will have to contribute to the LTCI fund, this paper explores whether the Thai people are willing to pay for such a provision. The LTCI demand is estimated based on the stated preference survey data. Our results show that most respondents are willing to pay to insure against their risk associated with long-term care expenditure, but their preferences are very heterogeneous. Gains and losses for different policy scenarios, measured by consumer surplus, are discussed.
Evaluating Thailand’s Free Basic Electricity Program
This study evaluates the performance of Thailand’s Free Basic Electricity (FBE) program along three dimensions: targeting effectiveness, benefit adequacy, and subsidy burden distribution. While the FBE benefits reaches the targeted population (low-income families) quite well, the benefit leakage to the non-targeted population could result in a significant increase in the overall subsidy cost. Furthermore, the current 50-unit free quota given by the FBE program is insufficient for the basic need of many low-income families. Lastly, the FBE subsidy burden falls exclusively on the industrial/commercial customers, but the cost increase has been rather small. Therefore, Thailand’s FBE program can be markedly improved by introducing a more effective targeting approach to reduce leakage, which will allow the government to raise the free electricity quota while maintaining the same overall subsidy cost.
Thai Inflation Dynamics: A View from Micro CPI Data
This paper examines the patterns of price adjustment at the micro level in order to further our understanding of price rigidity at the aggregate level. We highlight 5 stylized facts: 1) Prices change infrequently with a mean duration of approximately 4 to 7 months between price changes; 2) Price decreases are common accounting for roughly 45 percent of all price changes; 3) Price changes, both increases and decreases, are sizable compared to the prevailing in ation rate; 4) The size of price changes covaries strongly with the rate of in ation, whereas the fraction of items changing prices does not; and 5) There is signicant dispersion in price levels as well as in the synchronicity of price changes across geographical regions. Based on a dynamic factor model, we also utilize prices at the disaggregated level to perform an in ation decomposition to understand the underlying driving factors of in ation. The key ndings are: 1) Prices at the micro level are driven mainly by idiosyncratic shocks but these shocks become less important for CPI in ation at the aggregate level; 2) Pure in ation which drives long-term price movements in Thailand is responsible for approximately 10 percent of overall price movements; 3) More than half of all within-quarter uctuations can be classied as relative price changes in response to aggregate shocks; 4) The short-run in ation-output tradeoff which appears weak in aggregate data becomes much stronger once volatile idiosyncratic price changes are removed.
Farmers and Pixels: Toward Sustainable Agricultural Finance with Space Technology
This paper explores promises of satellite technology in creating high-quality agricultural risk information necessary for unlocking market inefficiencies that have precluded sustainable development of insurance markets and overall risk management in agricultural sector, where uninsured risk remains a leading impediment of economic development. Using pixel-level, high resolution, high frequency and longitudinal satellite data together with a combination of geographical information system (GIS) data, administrative and household-level agricultural data, this paper answers three questions: (1) Can satellite data be used to generate high-quality risk information for Thai rice farmers? (2) How might the satellite-based risk information be used to crowd in sustainable markets for agricultural finance? And (3) What are potential economic impacts of having high quality agricultural data on farmers, agricultural banks and government? After illuminating the potential values of investing in high-quality agricultural data, this paper also discusses key challenges and ways forward in bringing this research into real action to enhance financial stability of farmers, financial system and government.
Overoptimistic Entrepreneurs: Predicting Wellbeing Consequences of Self-Employment
The formation of expectations is a fundamental part of the process when people decide about engaging in an entrepreneurial venture. We evaluate the accuracy of newly self-employed people’s predictions of their overall future wellbeing. Based on individual panel data for Germany, we find that they are overly optimistic when we compare their predicted life satisfaction with their actual life satisfaction five years later on. This overoptimism also holds for those entrepreneurs who successfully remain in business for at least five years. A possible reason might be that they underestimate the heavy workload reflected in higher working hours than desired and the drop in leisure satisfaction.
Predicting the Present Revisited: The Case of Thailand
Google is currently the most-used search engine in the world. There are approximately 3.5 billion searches being conducted on Google each day. With real-time processing, Google Trends data can be used in a prediction technique called nowcasting (or “predicting the present”) – using the current period’s real-time information to estimate the current period’s indicators of interest. In this paper, we showed how Google Trends can be used for nowcasting Thailand’s various economic indicators. The sectors being analyzed are (i) the labor market sector (unemployment rate and unemployment registration), (ii) the real sector (automobile sales), and (iii) the financial sector (SET index). The results revealed that incorporating the Google Trends data into the prediction models improved the Adjusted R-Squared and improved the predication accuracies under various measures.