Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

9-2016

Abstract

Under what conditions does economic growth benefit the poor? One way to answer this question is to identify and compare positive and negative outlier areas, those that experience greater and lesser poverty reduction, respectively, compared to what was anticipated given their levels of economic growth. The more similar these areas, the more leverage there is to unearth the factors that allow the poor to benefit from growth. In this paper, we employ an inductive approach to glean possible pathways out of poverty from two highly similar underdeveloped neighboring provinces in northeastern Thailand. Using extensive fieldwork and interviews, we explore factors that can account for one province reducing poverty at a quicker pace than expected, even as the other failed to channel its faster growth into significant poverty reduction. Our study finds that in Surin province, because a strong network of local NGOs was working closely with provincial leadership, national policies that targeted the poor found fertile ground and thrived. Small-scale, low-tech, rural based initiatives including organic rice, handicraft production, and rural tourism helped drive initially high levels of poverty down. Though many in Si-Saket also pursued many of these initiatives, they were structured in ways that promoted economic growth but largely prevented poor farmers from benefitting. Further research can examine whether this kind of "micro-oriented" path to rapid rural poverty reduction is useful in other contexts.

Keywords

development, rural poverty, Asia, Thailand

Discipline

Asian Studies | Growth and Development | Inequality and Stratification | Political Science

Research Areas

Political Science

Publication

World Development

Volume

85

First Page

1

Last Page

15

ISSN

0305-750X

Identifier

10.1016/j.worlddev.2016.04.004

Publisher

Elsevier

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1016/j.worlddev.2016.04.004