News and Announcements

The Impact of Isolationist Policies: Insights from Regional Capital and Labour flows in Thailand
September 15, 2017

Big data with big theory reveal how restrictive regional economic policies can lead to lower national productivity and higher inequality

Within a given country, different regions interact with each other in capital, labour, and product markets, resulting in cross-regional flows of these factors and goods. Regions also differ from each other locally in many ways, including the specific financial obstacles faced by local residents (Paulson and Townsend 2004, Ahlin and Townsend 2007, Karaivonov and Townsend 2014). Can these regional differences be enough to generate flows of factor inputs that are consistent with the capital flows and labour migration seen in the available data? Furthermore, can these regional differences generate the observed and often quite uneven geographic concentration in economic activity that we see on the ground?

MIT Press Interview with Professor Townsend about the Townsend Thai Project
April 29, 2016

MIT Press interviewed Professor Townsend about his book, "Chronicles from the Field: The Townsend Thai Project," which he wrote with Sombat Sakuthasathian and Rob Jordan.

"Running since 1997 and continuing today, the Townsend Thai Project has tracked millions of observations about the economic activities of households and institutions in rural and urban Thailand. The project represents one of the most extensive datasets in the developing world. 'Chronicles from the Field' offers an account of the design and implementation of this unique panel data survey. It tells the story not only of the origins and operations of the project but also of the challenges and rewards that come from a search to understand the process of a country’s economic development. In an interview, Robert Townsend provides an update on this innovative project."

Full Interview with MIT Press