Seoul Journal of Economics - Vol. 32 , No. 1

[ Article ]
Seoul Journal of Economics - Vol. 32, No. 1, pp. 107-135
Abbreviation: SJE
ISSN: 1225-0279 (Print)
Print publication date 28 Feb 2019
Received 03 Jul 2018 Revised 29 Dec 2018 Accepted 04 Jan 2019

Thailand’s Middle-Income Trap: Firms’ Technological Upgrading and Innovation and Government Policies
Patarapong Intarakumnerd
Patarapong Intarakumnerd, Professor, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), Tokyo, Japan, Tel: (81)-3-6439-6122 (patarapong@grips.ac.jp)

JEL Classification: O14, O25, O32, 038


Once recognized as a high-performing newly industrializing economy, Thailand is currently in the middle-income trap. The country has remained at the middle-income level for more than 15 years. A major reason for such development is a relatively low technological learning of firms in Thailand. After a financial crisis in 1997, certain improvements transpired; for example, transnational corporations and large local firms started to invest increasingly in building rather sophisticated technological capabilities in product and process design, advanced engineering, and R&D. However, Thailand is still lacking a critical mass of innovative firms, which can pull the country out of the trap. On the government side, perpetuated ineffective science, technology, and innovation policies have been implemented for several decades.

Keywords: Thailand, Middle-Income trap, Technological learning, Technological capabilities, Science, Technology, and Innovation policy


An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2018 SJE Conference on Political Economy of the Middle-income Trap, held in Seoul. The author expresses his gratitude to the editor and referees for their constructive comments.

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