HISTORICAL CONTEXT AND OBJECTIVE
It is difficult to understand contemporary phenomena without examining the important historical context. Thus, the first part of the paper examines the feudalistic patterns of the past. The basic objective of the paper is to examine the evolution of inequality and inequity in Thailand. Key related research questions are:
1) What are the basic genres of inequality and inequity?
2) How has inequality and inequity changed over time?
3) What factors influence regional disparities?
Multiple theoretical/conceptual frameworks are utilized to guide and frame this research, namely: 1) central place theory, 2) Kuznet’s inverted U theory, 3) fiscal neutrality, and 4) size theory.
This is a mixed methods study. Over 50 key empirical indicators for each of Thailand’s 77 provinces have been collected at two points in time (current and five years ago). This is the first time such a data set has ever been created. “To tell the story” behind the numbers, qualitative fieldwork was done in the remote disadvantaged Northeast to gain a deeper understanding (verstehen) of the fundamental nature of inequality in Thailand and its root causes
RESULTS AND POLICY IMPLICATIONS
Key genres of inequality and inequity are differentiated. Thailand is found to be a “tale of two cities”. There are both major positive and negatives found, It is imperative for Thailand to develop creative public policies to reduce the serious and growing disparities, inequalities, and inequities, if it is to escape the “middle income trap” and realize its long-term potential.