Structural Transformation in Thailand: A Perspective Through Product Innovation
This paper examines Thailand’s economic development through the perspective of structural transformation. Building on the insight that the products that a country exports tells much about the country’s underlying capabilities, we study Thailand’s evolving product structure both at the aggregate country level as well as at the firm level. We show that over the last 30 years, the diversification of Thailand’s product structure has been impressive, with important footholds being established in many well-connected and increasingly sophisticated products. This positive overall picture, however, masks potentially serious distributional problems. The number of firms and the number of provinces that are actively engaged in and contributing materially to Thailand’s product upgrading are highly concentrated. This may be limiting the gains to the economy more broadly. We confirm the importance of existing product structures at the country, regional, and firm levels for the evolution of firms’ product structure over time. That is, the current basket of goods produced by firms, regions, and the country affect firms’ decision over which products to introduce and which ones to drop. This path-dependent nature of product innovation has important implications for policy.
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.
The Impact of Immigration on Wages, Internal Migration and Welfare
This paper studies the impact of immigration on wages, internal migration and welfare. Using U.S. Census data, I estimate a spatial equilibrium model where labor differs by skill level, gender and nativity. Workers are heterogeneous in city preferences. Cities vary in productivity levels, housing prices and amenities. I use the estimated model to assess the distributional consequences of several immigration policies. The results show that a skill selective immigration policy leads to welfare gains for low skill workers, but welfare losses for high skill workers. The negative impacts are more substantial among the incumbent high skill immigrants. Internal migration mitigates the initial negative impacts, particularity in cities where high skill workers are relatively mobile. However, the negative impacts on some workers intensify. This is because an out-migration of workers of a given type may raise the local wages for workers of that type, while reducing the local wages of workers with complementary characteristics. Overall, there are substantial variations in the welfare effects of immigration across and within cities. Further, I also use the model to assess a non-selective immigration policy and deportation of unauthorized immigrants in specific areas.
Parental Time and Material Investments in Rural Thailand
This paper studies the roles of family structure, wage and child’s gender on parental time and material investments in rural Thailand. Our findings consistently show that female children received more time, but less material investments. The material investment was significantly lower for children in households with no parents, while the difference in time investment was not significant. Based on an economic model of parental investment, these results suggest the factor share of time relative to material input is larger for girls and households with no parents. We also identified the elasticity of substitution between time and material investments, which suggests that both of the inputs are surprisingly complementary. We cannot reject that the skill formation is a Cobb-Douglas production function.
Bank Supply Shocks and Firm Investment: A Granular View from the Thai Credit Registry Data
This paper attempts to link bank loan supply shocks to the real economic activity at the firm and aggregate level. We apply the methodology pioneered by Amiti and Weinstein (2017) to bank-firm credit registry dataset in Thailand for the period of 2004-2015. Loan growth dynamics of individual banks and individual firms are exactly decomposed into a time series of bank, firm, industry, and common shocks. We show that the bank and firm shocks obtained using this method are consistent with various measures of individual banks’ and firms’ balance sheet health, supporting the validity of the shock decomposition. Results from firm-level regressions indicate that bank supply shocks do matter for firm investment activity even after controlling for common, industry, firm-specific shocks and firm’s leverage. We find that Thai firms are generally highly sensitive to bank lending shocks, particularly firms that borrow from only one bank and have low propensity to switch to another bank. The size and the dynamics of bank shocks appears to differ between heathy versus unhealthy, and small versus large firms, suggesting differential bank lending policy across different types of firms. At the aggregate level, we find that granular bank shock accounts for around 37 percent of aggregate lending growth and is the major source of financial shocks driving aggregate investment.
Are Consumers Forward-looking? Evidence from Used iPhones
This study examines the impact of planned obsolescence – the introduction of new models to make existing models obsolete – on secondary markets for mobile phones. Using data of over 320,000 used iPhones listings on Thailand’s largest online marketplace, we document that iPhone prices decrease with age, around 2.8 to 3.2 percent for each passing month. We find no evidence that the price decline accelerates after launches of new models (i.e. obsolescence), lending support to the view that consumer in durable goods markets are rational and forward-looking.
Assessing the Importance of Taxation on FDI: Evidence from South-East Asian Developing Countries
This study examines the influence of taxation on FDI using data from South-East Asia. It employs the quantile regression approach with fixed effects that provides a comprehensive view of the tax sensitivity across the FDI distribution. Estimates confirm the significantly negative impact of the bilateral effective average tax rate but its effect is heterogeneous across the distribution. This stresses the importance of understanding the effect of taxation across the distribution rather than only at the mean. Also, the economic significance of the tax is relatively smaller than that of other fundamental factors such as labor quality and governance.
Environmental Efforts and Firm Performance
In this paper, we test the prediction that environmental efforts, presenting one dimension of corporate social responsibility, are positively related to firm performance. We analyze a panel sample of non-financial firms in the Netherlands over the period 2001–2014 using two approaches: ordinary least squares regressions and two-stage least squares regressions. Our two-stage least squares regressions show that firms with higher degrees of environmental efforts have better firm performance, measured as return on assets, but have poorer firm performance, measured as return on sales. However, this relationship disappears when firm performance is measured as return on equity or stock return. Our analysis further reveals that better firm performance does not necessarily lead to a disclosure of a firm’s environmental efforts. We find that larger firms are more inclined to report the environmental efforts than smaller firms. Neither prior firm performance nor variation in firm performance moderates the effect of environmental efforts on firm performance.
Impact of Lower Rated Journals on Economists’ Judgments of Publication Lists: Evidence from a Survey Experiment
Publications in leading journals are widely known to have a positive impact on economists’ judgments of the value of authors’ contributions to the literature and on their professional reputations. Very little attention has been given, however, to the impacts of the addition of publications in lower rated journals on such judgments. In our main tests, we asked sub-samples of economist in 44 universities throughout the world to rate either a publication list with only higher rated journals or a list with all of these but with additional publications in nearly as many respected but lower rated journals. Our primary finding was that the inclusion of lower rated journals had a statistically significant negative impact on these economists’ judgments of the value of the author’s contribution. To the extent that such judgments may influence research and publication strategies our findings imply negative implications on social welfare.
The Economics of Altruism – The Old, the Rich, the Female
This study examines whether certain observed characteristics are associated people’s altruistic feelings and behaviors. The paper utilizes a National Mental Health Survey that gathered questions about respondents’ self-reported altruism along with their demographic, labor force, and income information. The empirical results reveal that (1) older people are more altruistic; (2) higher income people are more altruistic; and (3) women are more altruistic. The results are robust once the potential endogeneity problem of the income variable is eliminated by the use of the instrumental variable estimation method.
Thailand’s Household Debt through the Lens of Credit Bureau Data: Debt and Delinquency
This paper uses loan-level data from the National Credit Bureau to study household debt in Thailand. The wide coverage and the granularity of the data allow us to analyze prevalence, intensity, and distribution of debt and delinquency by loan product, lender, and borrower. We show that there are tremendous heterogeneities in debt and delinquency across these attributes. Overall, credit access in Thailand appears moderate and limited for housing loans. Thais begin to have debt earlier in their lives and hold debt until very old. Household debt is largely concentrated and plagued with high debt intensity and delinquency prevalence, especially among the young working age population, implying a potential increase in the vulnerability of the financial system and prolonged sluggish domestic spending. Our findings have important implications for policy design and targeting.
Fiscal Stimulus and Household Debt: Evidence from Thailand’s First-Car Buyer Tax Rebate
This paper studies the impacts of Thailand’s 2011-2012 first-car tax rebate scheme on household debt using the account-level loan data from National Credit Bureau. While the literature mostly concentrates on the macroeconomic effects of such stimulus, this study focuses on the effects on individuals who borrow to finance their durable-goods purchases. We show that the program led to higher delinquency on loans and crowded out other loan originations. Our findings are consistent with the demand-shifting mechanism—the rebates encouraged participants to purchase their cars very prematurely. The results were more adverse for passenger car buyers than for truck buyers. We also find local spillover effects of the program on non-auto loans and on individuals not participating in the program.
Intensive and Extensive Margins of Labour Supply in Thailand: Decomposing the Pattern of Work Behaviours
The paper highlights the important differences between the extensive margins (participation) and the intensive margins (hours-of-work) of labour supply, in the case of Thailand. We use Thailand’s Labour Force Survey to explore the evolution of labour supply at both margins over the past three decades. We show that Thailand’s extensive margins of labour supply follow the conventional life-cycle pattern of an inverted U-shape along the age distribution. However, for the intensive margins, occupation types and education levels play significant roles in dictating the shape of hours-of-work along the life-cycle. We employ a pseudo-cohort analysis to allow us to track the same representative age-gender sample across their life time. While we find that men supply more mean hours per capita than women, we do not find much marriage premium on the intensive margin among those who worked. Marriage premium is highly noticeable along the extensive margin. At all ages, women have smaller extensive margins. Female workforce also reduce the margins more strongly when they reach older ages than men. In our statistical exercise combining a decomposition approach with forecasting, we find that a policy targeting raising participation rates work more effective than a policy on intensive margins, in increasing the total hours-of-work of the working age population.
Welfare Analysis of the Universal Health Care Program in Thailand
I estimate and decompose the welfare benefit of Thailand’s universal health care policy, also known as the 30 Baht program. The total welfare impact of the 30 Baht program is defined as the amount of consumption that an enrollee would need to give up that would leave her at the same expected utility as without the 30 Baht program. I find that the total welfare benefit is approximately 75 cents per one dollar of government spending. The main source of the welfare effect can be attributed to improved consumption smoothing rather than increases in the consumption level. Using difference in differences method, I find that the effect of the 30 Baht program on income is signicantly positive, while the effect on consumption is slightly negative but not significant. This implies that the 30 Baht program has a positive impact on savings and future consumption, rather than current consumption.