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.
Incorporating Discrete Choice Experiments into Policy Decisions: Case of Designing Public Long-Term Care Insurance
Discrete choice experiments (DCEs) have been widely used to elicit preferences in the health economics field but recent reviews found that DCE results are rarely incorporated into health policy decisions. We conjecture that one reason is most health policy practitioners only focus on estimating marginal willingness to pay (MWTP), the measure that is not directly applicable for policy-related questions. We show that when designing a new program, translating preference information into the demand for packages and benefits of alternative schemes (the choices made available) can make the DCE results more policy relevant. This concept is illustrated using data collected to evaluate the benefits of introducing a public long-term care insurance program to a middle-income country, Thailand. We find that preferences are very heterogeneous, implying that no one-size-fits-all solution exists. The estimates from the preferred model are then used to calculate benefits and losses (based on the consumer surplus measure) for plausible implementation scenarios such as different universal schemes, multiple-tier schemes, and schemes in which premium are subsidized for low-income households.
On Covid-19: New Implications of Job Task Requirements and Spouse’s Occupational Sorting
The Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted working life in many ways, the negative consequences of which may be distributed unevenly under lockdown regulations. In this paper, we construct a new set of pandemic-related indices from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET) using factor analysis. The indices capture two key dimensions of job task requirements: (i) the extent to which jobs can be adaptable to work from home; and (ii) the degree of infection risk at workplace. The interaction of these two dimensions help identify which groups of workers are more vulnerable to income losses, and which groups of occupations pose more risk to public health. This information is crucial for both designing appropriate supporting programs and finding a strategy to reopen the economy while controlling the spread of the virus. In our application, we map the indices to the labor force survey of a developing country, Thailand, to analyze these new labor market risks. We document differences in job characteristics across income groups, at both individual and household levels. First, low income individuals tend to work in occupations that require less physical interaction (lower risk of infection) but are less adaptable to work from home (higher risk of income/job loss) than high income people. Second, the positive occupational sorting among low-income couples amplifies these differences at the household level. Consequently, low-income families tend to face a disproportionately larger risk of income/job loss from lockdown measures. In addition, the different exposure to infection and income risks between income groups can play an important role in shaping up the timing and optimal strategies to unlock the economy.
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.
Mutual Fund Participation in IPOs: Thai Evidence
Underwriters and co-managers play an important role in IPOs, but because they often have affiliated mutual funds, concerns about conflicts of interest can arise. On the one hand, they can use this affiliation for the benefit of their asset management business (the information advantage hypothesis); on the other hand, they can use mutual funds under their control to support their IPO clients (the quid pro quo hypothesis). In this article, we find that the behavior of lead underwriter-affiliated funds in Thailand is more consistent with the information advantage hypothesis and co-manager-affiliated funds more consistent with the quid pro quo hypothesis. We also find further evidence of strategic placement of IPO stocks within fund family.
Uncertainty and Economic Activity: Does it Matter for Thailand?
This paper investigates the role of domestic and foreign uncertainty shocks for macroeconomic dynamics in Thailand. We construct and compare various indicators of economic and policy uncertainty, including macroeconomic and financial uncertainty, as well as monetary policy, fiscal policy, and political uncertainty. We find that while all uncertainty measures display countercyclical behavior, they generate heterogenous effects on real GDP and its components depending on the type of shock. In general, the magnitude of real activity decline in response to economic and policy uncertainty shocks are on the scale of 1-2 percent, with most of the transmission occurring through investment and trade flows rather than consumption demand. In terms of persistence, Thai macroeconomic uncertainty shocks generate sudden impacts, while the effect of other shocks on the economy are more gradual. Despite being a small open economy, we find that domestic uncertainty shocks can be as prominent as uncertainty shocks that spillover from abroad. Thai monetary policy shocks generate declines in real activity that are as large and persistent as US financial uncertainty shocks, whereas the impact of both Thai fiscal policy uncertainty and US economic policy are both rather short-lived. Furthermore, we find that uncertainty is a key driver of fluctuations in domestic output, with certain types of uncertainty being able to explain up to 40 percent of the variation in real activity, even in the long run. Finally, we observe asymmetry in the effects of downside versus upside economic uncertainty shocks, but no difference between uncertainty of short versus long horizons.
ESG and Creditworthiness: Two Contrary Evidence from Major Asian Markets
Assets managed under sustainable investment criteria have been massively growing during the recent years. Among the criteria, environmental, social and governance (ESG) score leads the group as an important indicator of non-financial quality of a firm, which may reflect value to investors either through higher expected profit or lower risk. In this paper, we focus on the latter by exploring whether ESG score has any impact on the credit rating of firms due to the risk mitigation effect. Ordered logistic regressions were applied on a panel dataset of listed companies in Shanghai and Tokyo Stock Exchanges over 2009 – 2018. The results suggest that only in Japan, having ESG coverage is greatly associated with being awarded higher credit rating. However, just the environmental and governance pillars positively affect the Japanese firms’ credit ratings, while the social pillar shows negative effect.
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.
Assessing Tax Burden Differential Between Foreign Multinationals and Local Firms: Implications for FDI Tax Incentives
This study uses firm-level data from ASEAN5 to examine whether there are systemic differences in how reported profit is taxed between foreign multinational and comparable local firms. Using propensity score matching, it finds that the effective tax rate (ETR: tax expense divided by pre-tax profit) of foreign MNEs is 1.8 percentage point lower than that of local firms. It also shows that the preferential tax treatment is responsible for 95% of the ETR differential. Under the baseline scenario, the associated revenue loss is 2.6% of total corporate income revenue.
Tax Rate Cut and Firm Investment: Evidence from Thailand
How do firms’ investment respond to a large corporate tax rate cut in developing countries? This study uses a matched difference-in-difference approach to estimate the investment responses of Thailand’s 2012-13 corporate income tax cut. It finds that the tax cut has significantly boosted investment. The findings also underline the heterogeneity of the investment responses between local and foreign firms as well as the potential roles of policy uncertainty and market competition on investment response.
Does Democracy Affect Cyclical Fiscal Policy? Evidence From Developing Countries
Macroeconomics usually prescribes counter-cyclical fiscal policies to stabilise the economy: government spending should increase above trend in the economic downturns, and decrease below trend during booms. Yet, empirical research has documented pro-cyclical fiscal policy in several democratic developing countries. This article uses updated data to analyse 63 developing countries from 1980 to 2013 and robustly shows that pro-cyclical fiscal policy does exist in both democratic and non-democratic developing countries. The essence of this paper is controlling endogeneity issue by the instrumental variable method and investigating the interaction between democracy, its maturity and quality of institutions in affecting fiscal policy cyclical.We provide 3 main findings. Firstly, an improvement in the level of institutions quality plays an important role to restrain pro-cyclical fiscal policy and these effects are larger in democratic countries than non-democratic ones. Additionally, more mature and stable democratic countries tend to implement less pro-cyclical fiscal policy.
Profitability, Investment and Asset Pricing: Reconciling the Valuation and the q-Theory Approaches in the Thai Stock Market
There are several ways to motivate why profitability and investment should affect stock returns. In this paper, I investigate the valuation approach of Fama and French (2015) and the q-theory approach of Hou, Xue and Zhang (2015). While the underlying theories are different, their empirical predictions are the same. Slight differences in factor construction methods afford an opportunity to combine the features of the two models. I find that reinterpreting the q factors (with more frequent rebalancing and more layers of sorting) as Fama-French valuation factors can lead to improvement in model performance. In this modified version, the market risk, size, value, profitability and investment effects are all priced in Thailand.
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.