Vol 15, No 2 (2020)

This issue contains a symposium of papers on Thailand. Jessica Vechbanyongratana and Kawita Niwatananun delve into Southeast Asia's colonial-historical roots of land-based wealth inequality and show how Thailand's incomplete adoption of land-titling has led to land insecurity and implications for landlessness, poverty, and contemporary conflict. Their study thus provides a fresh approach as conflict scholars often examine only fairly short time-periods and thus may fail to detect history-dependent currents of conflict-causing factors. Chantal Herberholz examines the degree of inclusion/exclusion of stateless or otherwise nationality-less refugees in Thailand's relatively well-developed, even generous, national health care system. This is an important study as the plight of stateless people is almost wholly ignored in both, the academic and the policy worlds. Khemarat Talerngsri studies land-use related conflict related to Thailand's increasingly decimated northern forests, thus combining the literature's usual focus on people with additional concern for the larger natural environment within which and from which people derive their livelihoods. Isra Sarntisart develops a new Gini-decomposition method to better capture horizontal and vertical inequality among people. His study is important as inequality measures are increasingly used in the larger literature. Applied to Thailand's Deep South, a region which has seen many thousands of people killed in recent years, he shows that while regional inequality may have become less pressing in recent years, individual-inequality measures for people living in the south have increased, possibly contributing to the continuing unrest in the region. Sawarai Boonyamanond and Papusson Chaiwat also study Thailand's restive Deep South, developing district-level exploratory panel regressions and finding that the main drivers of the conflict are not, as often asserted, ethno religious-linguistic differences to the bulk of Thailand's population but, more likely, economic hardship reflected in widespread poverty at the individual, household, and district levels. The final paper is by Pongsak Luangaram and Yuthana Sethapramote who relate changes in foreign direct investment and foreign portfolio investment flows to Thailand to different types of political conflict. Using novel techniques to harvest daily news coverage related to conflict types, they find that direct investment and portfolio investment generally respond adversely to news of heightened conflict, but that the results depend on the type of conflict to which these investment flows respond. In sum, each of these papers offers a glimpse of Thailand but also offers techniques and lessons that might well be applied to and in other country's contexts.

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Table of Contents

Articles

Historical origins of land rights insecurity and implications for conflict in Thailand
Jessica Vechbanyongratana, Kawita Niwatananun
Forests, peoples, and governments: Persistent land-use conflict in Northern Thailand
Khemarat Talerngsri
Protracted statelessness and nationalitylessness among the Lahu, Akha and Tai-Yai in northern Thailand: Problem areas and the vital role of health insurance status
Chantal Herberholz
Poverty and conflict in Thailand’s Deep South
Sawarai Boonyamanond, Papusson Chaiwat
Income inequality and conflicts: A Gini decomposition analysis
Isra Sarntisart
Capital flows and political conflicts: Evidence from Thailand
Pongsak Luangaram, Yuthana Sethapramote