Kyoto University Asian Economic Development Seminar (AEDS)

Language: English

Presentation 1: Nattapong Puttanapong (Thammasat University)

Title: Spatial Analysis of Inequality and Urbanization in Thailand

Abstract: This research analyzed the relationship between urbanization and inequality at the provincial level in Thailand from 2002 to 2020. Data from the National Statistical Office’s Labor Force Survey was used to calculate the Gini index and urbanization rate. The study employed the Local Indicators of Spatial Autocorrelation (LISA) and spatial panel regressions to assess the spatial distribution of inequality. Despite a declining national Gini index, spatial inequality remains consistent. The results highlight an inverted Kuznets curve, showing a U-shaped relationship between urbanization and inequality. Both rural and highly urbanized provinces exhibit high inequality, whereas mid-urbanized regions, primarily Bangkok’s suburbs, show the least income disparity. The findings underscore the need for further research into the factors driving this consistent spatial inequality.

Short Bio: Nattapong Puttanapong currently serves as an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Economics, Thammasat University. He has consulted for prominent entities including the World Bank, ADB, OECD, ILO, JICA, IDE-JETRO, and various Thai ministries. His research expertise encompasses international trade, CGE modeling, network analysis, spatial economics, and resource economics. Recently, he has published studies on the economic implications of satellite data and machine learning in international journals. Dr. Puttanapong holds an Engineering bachelor’s degree and, under the Royal Thai Government Scholarship, earned his Master’s and Ph.D. from Cornell University. In 2022, he was honored with the National Research Award in Economics by the National Research Council of Thailand.

Presentation 2: Tamaki Endo (Saitama University), Thongchart Bowonthumrongchai (Srinakharinwirot University)

Title: Urban Inequality and Labor Market Dynamics in Bangkok

Abstract: In the past decades, high urban inequality is one of the concerned agendas in many of Asia’s mega cities. The previous studies show that the transformation of the urban labour market is one of the main drivers of this trend. However, an empirical study in the case of Bangkok does not exist. This paper analyses the trend of inequality and labour market characteristics in Bangkok by using raw data from
the Labour Force Survey. First, it will show that the labour market is explicitly diverse in Bangkok. In other words, the degree of variety of jobs is very high. Second, it has the unique characteristics of a multi-layered labour market. Similar to the polarized labour market in global cities in developed countries, both high-skilled and low-skilled employment concentrate in Bangkok. Particularly, the service sector started to diversify its variety of occupations ranging from high-skilled professionals in IT, finance, and management to unskilled jobs. However, because of the relatively large portion of the informal economy, the polarization of the wage structure has not progressed in a linear way, and it shows more complex structure.

Short Bio: Tamaki Endo is a Professor at Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Saitama University in Japan. Her research interests include informal economy, inequality, gentrification, and global value chain analysis. Main publications are Living with Risks: Precarity & Bangkok’s Urban Poor (NUS Press association with Kyoto University Press, 2014), The Asian Economy: Contemporary Issues and Challenges (Goto, Endo and Ito [eds], Routledge, 2020) and Urban Risk and Well-Being in Asian Mega Cities: Urban lower and middle classes in Bangkok, Shanghai, and Tokyo, (Endo and Shibuya [eds], Routledge, 2023). She received her B.A. in Law and Politics from Faculty of Law (1999), and her M.A. (2001) and PhD (2007) in Economics from Graduate School of Economics, Kyoto University. She has been visiting fellow/professor in several universities such as Chulalongkorn University, SOAS, London University, Global South Study Center, Cologne University and London School of Economics and Political Science.

Thongchart Bowonthumrongchai graduated with a Doctor of Economics degree from Saitama University, Japan. He currently serves as a Lecturer in the Faculty of Economics at Srinakharinwirot University, Thailand. His research interests revolve around energy economics, the economics of climate change, and labor economics.