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The Political Economy of Decentralization in Thailand - Does Decentralization Allow for Peasant Participation?

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  • Dufhues, Thomas
  • Theesfeld, Insa
  • Buchenrieder, Gertrud
  • Munkung, Nuchanata

Abstract

One of the most important issues in rural development is empowerment and entitlement of farmers through participation. Decentralisation and participation are seemingly interdependent. Therefore, the paper begins with a theoretical discussion on the cause and effects of this interdependence. Decentralisation is often advertised as means to better incorporate the views and wishes of local actors. Yet, a decentralization process is no guaranty for political participation of local actors. The state induced decentralisation process in rural Thailand serves as an example to investigate forces that hamper or facilitate political participation. Change and uncertainty are inherent of political systems and the agricultural sector. Hence, this paper focuses in particular, on the last two politically turbulent decades in Thailand and its impact on political participation in rural Thailand. The Tambon Administration Organization (TAO) as one means of and likewise outcome of the decentralization process will serve as an example to discuss the effects of decentralisation on participation in the TAOs, using the concept of accountability. After increasing decentralization at the end of the 90s the last decade was coined by centralization policies. The ongoing political unrest could potentially trigger a new wave of political decentralization. However, the real reason for decentralization is not to distribute power but to maintain central effectiveness. Thus, we expect to see more decentralization without participation.

Suggested Citation

  • Dufhues, Thomas & Theesfeld, Insa & Buchenrieder, Gertrud & Munkung, Nuchanata, 2011. "The Political Economy of Decentralization in Thailand - Does Decentralization Allow for Peasant Participation?," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114428, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:eaae11:114428
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ghazala Mansuri, 2004. "Community-Based and -Driven Development: A Critical Review," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 19(1), pages 1-39.
    2. Mutebi, 2004. "Recentralising while Decentralising: Centre-Local Relations and "CEO" Governors in Thailand," Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 26(1), pages 33-53, June.
    3. Gavin Shatkin, 2004. "Globalization and Local Leadership: Growth, Power and Politics in Thailand's Eastern Seaboard," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(1), pages 11-26, March.
    4. Andersson, Krister P., 2004. "Who Talks with Whom? The Role of Repeated Interactions in Decentralized Forest Governance," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 233-249, February.
    5. Blair, Harry, 2000. "Participation and Accountability at the Periphery: Democratic Local Governance in Six Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 21-39, January.
    6. Jean-Paul Faguet, 2008. "Decentralisation's Effects on Public Investment: Evidence and Policy Lessons from Bolivia and Colombia," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(8), pages 1100-1121.
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    Keywords

    Agricultural and Food Policy;

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