Thailand’s Inequality: Myths & Reality of Isan

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By Rattana Lao, Thomas Parks

Although poverty has declined in Thailand over decades of high economic growth, inequality remains greater than in most East and Southeast Asian countries. As economists observed from the 1970s until the eve of the 1997—1998 Asian Financial Crisis, rapid economic growth occurred primarily in Bangkok and a few other cities in the central region, but little improvement took place in the rest of the country. Thailand’s wealthiest people have benefited the most from economic growth, and this has increased their control over financial resources, as well as the amount of land they own. And, today, there is quite clear evidence that inequality has risen in key areas such as education, health, and political participation. Isan, Thailand’s Northeast region, is the country’s largest and most populous region, and has the lowest per capita income. 

Posted June 18, 2019
Related locations: Thailand

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