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Title: Developmental welfare in Thailand after the 1997 Asian financial crisis
Author: Tivayanond, Prapaporn
ISNI:       0000 0003 8262 3481
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis explores continuity and change in the developmental welfare approach in Thailand following the 1997 Asian financial crisis. It examines both the exogenous and endogenous forces that generated change as well as both the ‘process’ and the ‘content’ of transformation or responses to the crisis. It uses the One Tambon One Product (OTOP) policy as a case study to explore these changes. The principle research question is: To what extent did the post 1997 crisis policy on social protection in Thailand represent a shift from its existing institutional path of developmental welfarism? Extending from this overarching question are subsidiary questions, which guided the thesis. They include: To what extent did the OTOP policy address the social protection gaps that became apparent in the Asian financial crisis? To what extent did the OTOP policy benefit its target population? The thesis uses historical institutionalism (HI) and the role of ideas as the analytic frameworks in analyzing change. The thesis argues that the exogenous shock of the 1997 financial crisis contributed to some departure from the institutional path of developmental welfarism in Thailand. However, the change did not follow the conventional punctuated equilibrium (PE) model under the HI framework in the sense of moving from one equilibrium to another after an exogenous shock. Rather, the radical change that took place after the exogenous shock was gradual. The new set of institutional arrangement prompted significant ideational and institutional transformations. They involved both intended and unintended consequences of incremental shifts in the forms of ‘layering’ ‘drift’ and ‘conversion’ (Streeck and Thelen, 2005). In addition, the thesis argues that the transformation in Thailand after the 1997 financial crisis lies in an intermediate order of change that is found between shifts in policy instrument and a wholesale ‘paradigm shift’ (Hall, 1993). Here, apart from having introduced a new policy such as OTOP, the Thai government engaged in a broader rethinking of Thailand’s developmental welfare path. Moreover, the study finds that the structure of economic development in a developing country context can both promote and impede social protection, rather than only subordinate the latter. The claim is based on the finding that the expansion of economic policy goals in Thailand supported local development and increasing inclusiveness of the informal sector after the 1997 financial crisis. Finally, the thesis argues that social protection delivery or lack thereof reflects contestation of ideas as well as material interests. Both the state and the policy beneficiaries in the OTOP context pushed for their interests when there were gaps between policy formulation and implementation. As a result, changes occurred both in the policy goals and in who benefited from OTOP.
Supervisor: Kemp, Peter Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social policy & social work ; Welfare state reform and change ; developmental welfare ; Thailand ; One Tambon One Product (OTOP) ; Southeast Asia ; social protection ; 1997 financial crisis ; institutional change ; historical institutionalism ; paradigm recalibration