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Economic Paradigm and Demand-Side Populist Policies in Thailand

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 January 2022

Naphon Phumma
Faculty of Economics, Thammasat University, Thailand
Tanadej Vechsuruck*
Department of Economics, University of Rhode Island, USA
*Corresponding author. Email:


In the last decades, demand-side populist policies (DSPPs) have played a significant yet controversial role in Thai politics. Most Thai economists disagree with DSPPs. They have argued that such policies are inefficient and have suggested the Thai government drop short-sighted DSPPs and replace them with supply-side policies that are more effective in the long run. However, Thai politicians have viewed DSPPs as unavoidable for political reasons and turned a deaf ear on economists’ suggestions to stop issuing them. In this paper, we argue that the domination of the neoclassical economics paradigm prevents Thai economists and politicians from understanding the role of DSPPs in shaping the demand and supply sides of the macroeconomy in both the short run and long run. Based on the theory of transformational growth, DSPPs are endogenous phenomena emerging from Thailand's uneven economic development. Therefore, Thailand could implement the policies to facilitate long-run economic growth. We propose three principles for future DSPPs that can positively impact the economy in the long run: boosting productivity, promoting innovation, and addressing income inequality.

Original Article
Copyright © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Institute of East Asian Studies, Sogang University

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