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Policy Reform in Thailand and the Asian Development Bank's Agricultural Sector Program Loan (George Abonyi, 2005)

Policy Reform in Thailand and the Asian Development Bank's Agricultural Sector Program Loan (George Abonyi, 2005)

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Published by a2b159802
Case study of the political economy of reform of Thailand's agriculture sector supported by the Asian Development Bank, during the Asian Crisis.
Case study of the political economy of reform of Thailand's agriculture sector supported by the Asian Development Bank, during the Asian Crisis.

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07/17/2015

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This research focuses on exploring the political economy dimension of policy reform. The
research strategy involves developing a set of comprehensive case studies of policy-based lending
programs supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in three countries: Indonesia, Thailand,
and Viet Nam. This paper focuses on Thailand.

The case studies were designed to present detailed stories about the policy reform process,
focusing on the political economy dimension of reforms. The aim of each case study is to provide
not only an account of a particular ADB program, but more important, to place it in the specific—
and evolving—reform context in which the program was formulated and implemented, describing
the policy process involved. Since the context is so crucial with respect to policy reform initiatives,
the case studies provide narratives on local conditions and historical circumstances. The focus
of the cases is on the interplay between ADB’s program and the surrounding environment, with
particular emphasis on the policy reform process, and its political economy dimension. The basic
purpose of the case studies is to find out why and how things happened, so that this knowledge
can be used to better understand the policy reform process, in particular the role of political economy
factors; and more specifically, to assist in the future planning and implementation of programs
supporting policy reforms.

The general preparation for the case studies has involved an extensive literature review focusing
on policy reform and on the policy/reform process, with particular emphasis on the political and
institutional dimensions. Examples of the literature reviewed include Grindle (2001), Grindle and
Thomas (1991), Drazen (2000), Brinkerhoff and Crosby (2002), Haggard and Kaufman (1992),
and Bates and Krueger (1993); and of particular relevance to Thailand, work by Doner and Ramsay
(2004 and 2005), as well as a variety of case studies of policy reforms in different settings. A

“In order to learn how men will act in a given situation, or how a change in the
situation will modify their behavior, it is surely more practical to observe their
behavior than to attempt to discover by introspection or otherwise what they might
be supposed to do if actuated by a certain motive operating alone…. Of much
greater importance to the economist than any “pure” theory are the knowledge and
understanding of the concrete facts of production, distribution, consumption, of the
whole economic situation with all its causal processes. To most of this material the
processes of specific observation, systematization, and inductive inference are
applicable. To much of it, particularly in its dynamic processes, or processes of
change, no other method is of any service.”

Jacob Viner (1917)

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SEPTEMBER2005

POLICY REFORM IN THAILAND AND THE ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK’S
AGRICULTURAL SECTOR PROGRAM LOAN
GEORGE ABONYI

second part of the preparation for the conduct of case studies involved the development of a
framework for understanding/representing the political economy dimension of policy reform. A
preliminary framework, drawing on both literature review and in-depth examination of a variety
of cases/examples in diverse settings, is presented in Abonyi (2002). The preliminary framework
discussed in that paper was further refined prior to the case studies, including through training
workshops; and is then tested through application to this set of case studies.

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