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Household coping and response to government stimulus in an economic crisis : evidence from Thailand

  • Khandker, Shahidur R.
  • Koolwal, Gayatri B.
  • Haughtonm Jonathan
  • Jitsuchon, Somchai

The crash of global financial markets in 2008 caused a ripple effect on economic demand and growth worldwide. Export-oriented economies were hit particularly hard, and many governments stepped in quickly with broad-ranging stimulus programs to lessen the effects on households of rising unemployment and falling income. To better understand the role that stimulus policy might play in softening the effects of these shocks, this paper examines recent nationally-representative data from Thailand, an export-dependent economy where a large-scale stimulus program was introduced in 2009. Using monthly data spanning 2006-2010, the paper uses sub-province-level community panel data to examine the effects of major components of the stimulus on household consumption, income, borrowing, and debt repaid. To address simultaneity of changes in government spending and household outcomes, the analysis estimates a dynamic panel regression, instrumenting the stimulus effect with second-order lagged outcome variables, and estimating the model using the Generalized Method of Moments. The results suggest that household participation in these programs helped smooth consumption. This increase in monthly consumption was not supported from household receipts from the government stimulus, but more likely through a reallocation of consumption and savings that included greater debt repayment. The paper typically finds stronger effects in urban compared with rural areas.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6016.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2012
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6016
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  1. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Fruttero, Anna & Leite, Phillippe & Lucchetti, Leonardo, 2011. "Rising Food Prices and Household Welfare: Evidence from Brazil in 2008," IZA Discussion Papers 5713, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Jed Friedman & James Levinsohn, 2001. "The Distributional Impacts of Indonesia's Financial Crisis on Household Welfare: A "Rapid Response" Methodology," NBER Working Papers 8564, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Alderman, Harold, 1996. "Saving and economic shocks in rural Pakistan," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 343-365, December.
  4. Khandker, Shahidur R., 2012. "Seasonality of income and poverty in Bangladesh," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 244-256.
  5. Ennis, Huberto M. & Keister, Todd, 2010. "Banking panics and policy responses," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 57(4), pages 404-419, May.
  6. Fabrizio Bresciani & Gershon Feder & Daniel O. Gilligan & Hanan G. Jacoby & Tongroj Onchan & Jaime Quizon, 2002. "Weathering the Storm: The Impact of the East Asian Crisis on Farm Households in Indonesia and Thailand," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 17(1), pages 1-20.
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