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Labour-market issues under trade liberalization: implications for Thai workers


  • Piriya Pholphirul

    () (School of Development Economics, National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA), Thailand)


This paper analyses the impact of trade liberalization on the labour market in Thailand. The impacts on wages, employment, gender roles, labour standards and protection, human development and unionization are investigated. Such impacts vary among different sectors and in different aspects. The negative impact on workers, compared with other stakeholders, is shown to be a major concern. Workers are shown to have bad working conditions and low levels of protection and bargaining power. Since a more competitive atmosphere resulting from freer trade forces businesses to adjust their working environment, those businesses have to consider upgrading their human resources, which will thereafter help those businesses to make cost-effective adjustments and enhance the working conditions of labour. In order to cope with the international standards resulting from trade liberalization, the labour protection law of Thailand should be amended to include workers in the informal sector, such as home workers, part-time workers, subcontracted workers and temporary workers. In addition, the labour protection law should be linked to the development of skills and work safety.

Suggested Citation

  • Piriya Pholphirul, 2007. "Labour-market issues under trade liberalization: implications for Thai workers," Asia-Pacific Development Journal, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), vol. 14(1), pages 41-71, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:unt:jnapdj:v:14:y:2007:i:1:p:41-71

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Piriya Pholphirul, 2005. "Competitiveness, Income Distribution, and Growth in Thailand : What Does the Long-run Evidence Show?," Finance Working Papers 22054, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
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    More about this item


    Trade liberalization; labor market in Thailand;

    JEL classification:

    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • J8 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards


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