The Politics of Macroeconomic Policy Making in Thailand

  • Arissara Painmanakul

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This thesis investigates and analyses the changing configuration of the Thai macroeconomic policy making in Thailand, before, during and after the 1997 financial crisis, in order to understand the dynamics of the interaction among different actors within a country and between a country and the dominant ‘neo-liberal’ perspective of the international financial institutions and other institutions of global governance that have impacts on Thai economic policy. Traditionally, Thai policy making is referred as ‘a bureaucratic polity’ and being ‘bifurcated’ between clientalistic sectoral policy situated in line ministries and autonomous macroeconomic policy located around the Bank of Thailand, Ministry of Finance, National Economic and Social Development Board, and the Bureau of Budget. This thesis argues that these prevailing conceptual frameworks, although having contributed important knowledge in the Thai case, are not adequate in explaining the change in the policy configuration over the period in question due to their inability to capture the dynamic and complex interplay within macroeconomic policy making. To overcome these shortcomings, this thesis builds on Rangsun’s framework by introducing a more dynamic framework and integrating three main theoretical strands on the nature of policy making, namely the state-centred, society-centred, and international perspectives to explain the complex relationship among all actors involved in the Thai policy-making arena. This thesis finds that as Thailand has experienced fundamental changes that have occurred in the domestic politics and socioeconomic landscape since the late 1980s, the roles of new actors in the realm of policy making, including political parties, elected politicians, businessmen, and international actors have been significantly enhanced. As a result, the nature of the economic policy-making process has emerged as being influenced by different forces, both domestic and international, as well as being constrained by the superstructure and institutions such as constitution, political regime, pattern of the world economy and social relations. More importantly, the process of policy making is not static, but dynamic, and is also highly complex, varying according to time and context. Furthermore, this thesis contends that the political economy of policy making is a dialectic process in which the meaning and interpretation of policy are themselves important sites of contestation over the policy-making process between contending power blocs.
Date of Award1 Oct 2010
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorGraham Brown (Supervisor)


  • Policy Making
  • Politics
  • Thailand

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