TDRI Research Program
Economic Sector Studies
Innovation and Education Policy
International Economics and Geopolitics
Labor and Welfare Policy
Economic Sector Studies
Transportation and Logistic Policy
We promote high-quality and safe transport and logistics systems by applying interdisciplinary knowledge to design, plan, and model regulations and infrastructure investment solutions. Additionally, we also research legal fields governing digital technology and innovation, including, but not limited to, data privacy protection and intellectual property laws.
“Our work combines diverse expertise and connected perspectives to tackle complex research and legal questions. We believe an intellectually rich and supportive environment unlocks creativity and enables viable recommendations and seamless advice.”
Dr Sumet Ongkittikul
Vice President and Research Director
Preparing a Road Safety Development Plan for 2022-2027
Road accidents cause over 500 billion baht in damage to life and property annually. Despite the efforts, road accident reduction has never reached the previously-set goal. This project proposed realistic goals for road accident reduction and means to achieve them by 2027 by preparing a Road Safety Development Plan for 2022 – 2027. We reviewed frameworks for operations on road accident reduction, gathered success factors of other countries, analysed relationships among traffic accident reduction plans in different government agencies, analysed the situation of road safety in Thailand, and held hearing sessions with related agencies throughout the country.
Policy Development for Permitting Foreign Non-communication NGSO (Non-geostationary Orbit) Satellites to Provide Services Within the Country
With the rapidly increasing use of foreign non-geostationary satellite orbits (NGSO), existing policies, which only concerned communication satellites, became insufficient. To fill the policy gap, we identified the social and economic impacts of permitting foreign NGSO operations in Thailand. We proposed the appropriate model for orbit access management and the criteria to license satellite orbit. Moreover, we made recommendations to ensure that space technology will continue to benefit the country so that Thailand can reap the benefits of today’s digital economy.
A Study of Railway Regulations in Thailand
The lack of consistency and comprehensiveness in rail regulations greatly affects the efficiency of the rail systems and the quality of the services. This research analysed the national laws and regulations on rail operational systems of Thailand, the United Kingdom, Japan and the European Union, as well as international agreements concerning international logistics integration and cooperation. Also, it seeks to prepare the draft laws and regulations which establish common rail standards and to create effective law enforcement measures.
Public Bus System Reform
Our team has developed a regulatory management system follows a preceding project for which we proposed standards for bus services. It aims to establish an effective regulatory management system for scheduling bus service in Bangkok under the licensing scheme of the Department of Land Transport (DLT). This project also involves public participation through workshops, focus groups, and public hearing meetings with relevant stakeholders in formulating policy recommendations.
Economic Transformation Study and Modern Agriculture
Our team aims to raise the income per capita of farmers in the agricultural sector to have well-being similar to workers in other economic sectors.
“As a multidisciplinary working team, we utilise data to analyse changes in rural areas and strive to drive change in Thai agricultural policy. The researchers in our team get to work on all our diverse projects.”
Dr Nipon Poapongsakorn
Distinguished Fellow and Research Director
Agricultural Transformation in Thailand
The paper, funded by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, analyses the factors behind structural changes in the agriculture sector, the development of modern food value chains in Thailand and the role and impact of various institutional and policy reforms that affect this transformation. This paper concludes by identifying the challenging issues that must be addressed for the country to move forward in its agricultural transformation process and a detailed analysis of Thailand’s agricultural transformation at different stages in time.
Future of Small-scale Farmers
Small-scale farmers are increasingly vulnerable. The previous findings of smaller-scale farmers being more productive as they can use household labour instead of hired labour, thereby avoiding transaction costs, have been turned on its head. With the advent of modern technologies, large farms benefit from economies of scale in implementing cost-effective labour-saving equipment and can set up effective incentive systems for labour management. Thus, the future of small-scale farmers is highly uncertain and could be pivotal for society. This project was funded by the Strategic plan targeting Social KHONTHAI 4.0 NRCT.
The Needs of Farmers and the Possibility of Using Digital Technology to Increase Farms’ Productivity
Over 90% of small-scale farmers grow low-value crops: rice, cassava, sugar cane, and rubber. Funded by the Agricultural Research Development Agency, this paper aims to answer three questions:
1.How does productivity differ between small-scale farmers growing low-value crops (rice, cassava, sugar cane, rubber) and professional farmers?
2.Are small-scale farmers using modern technology to increase productivity and lower costs?
3.What role do agri-tech startups play in lowering costs and increasing the productivity and income of small-scale farmers?
Health and Agricultural
The Health and Agriculture team mainly focuses on research and evaluations of health and agricultural policies in a broader context, which includes social protection, education, civil society and political economy.
“Conducting high-quality research using an integrated and detailed view of the country’s perspective, which often differs from the mainstream. Our work has been recognised nationally, including the National Distinguished Researcher Award in Economics in 2015.”
Dr Viroj NaRanong
An Evaluation of, and Lessons Learned from, the National Science, Research and Innovation Fund's Response to the COVID-19 Crisis (2022)
Research commissioned by the Thailand Science Research and Innovation (TSRI) to monitor, evaluate, and find lessons learned for both the government and the TSRI Fund’s responses to the COVID-19.
A Study to Reform the Structure of Thailand’s Sugar and Cane Industry (2012) and A Consultation Study on Resolving the Dispute Settlement Concerning the Sugar Industry Between Brazil and Thailand in the WTO (2018 and 2021)
These projects received an Award for Outstanding Research in Economics in 2015 and an Award for Good Research in Economics in 2022 from the National Research Council of Thailand. The team leader was then nominated to serve as a member of the Ad-hoc Committee of the House of Representatives and the Ad-hoc Committee of the Senate in 2022 to consider the Sugarcane and Sugar Bill in 2020-2022.
Effects of Medical Tourism: Thailand’s Experience (2011)
This project points out that, despite its benefits, medical tourism in Thailand also has negative effects. However, the negative effects may be mitigated by lifting the restrictions on the importation of qualified foreign physicians and by taxing medical tourists who visit the country solely for the purpose of seeking medical treatment. The revenue thus generated could then be used to train physicians and retain medical school professors. This research received an Award for Good Research Work in Political Sciences and Public Administration in 2008 from the NRCT.
Business and Sustainable Development
Driving responsible business practices and aligning private incentives with public interests through the uses and promotions of different frameworks and tools, including sustainable development goals, non-financial disclosures and auditing and sustainable finance
“TDRI focuses on creating a positive impact on the country while prioritising continuous learning and personal development of its personnel with tangible supporting policies and various incentives to stimulate learning and personal development. In our team, flexibility, agility, and timely communication are crucial. We use weekly meetings and regular communications to update our work progress and discuss emerging news and regulation updates that are relevant to our interests.”
Dr Charika Channuntapipat
Exploring Thai Listed Companies’ Corporate Sustainability Reporting and the Stakeholder Involvement in Corporate Materiality Analysis
This project is funded by Capital Market Development Fund (CMDF) and involves content analysis of sustainability reporting practices of companies in SET100 from 2015-2021 and case studies of 10 selected companies from SET100. The results of this project would inform SET, SEC, and other interested stakeholders on the state of play of sustainability reporting in Thailand so that relevant policies and regulations can be developed. The case studies can be used by other organisations to make decisions on the development of their sustainability-related strategies, data collection procedures and disclosures.
Green Development and Climate Policy
We use empirical research to support Thailand’s transition to a low-carbon economy, policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation of all sectors to climate change risks. We also prioritise using new tools – such as behavioural economics – to inform policy recommendations.
“Our researchers enjoy working as a team and are constantly learning. We often travel for field work, where we engage directly with stakeholders to develop the most relevant and beneficial policy recommendations.”
Dr Kannika Thampanichvong
Senior Research Fellow
Policy Options to Address PM2.5 Pollution in the Transportation and Automotive Industry
This project aimed to prevent and address the PM2.5 emissions in the automotive sector by evaluating the effectiveness of different PM2.5 alleviation measures and analysing their impacts on various stakeholders. We prioritised measures that showed clear efficacy in improving air quality and follows high environmental standards while maintaining a reasonable implementation cost.
Study on the Use of Economic Instruments and Incentives Measures to Support and Drive Sustainable Consumption
Climate Change Impact Assessment on Children and Youth in Thailand
This study focused on analysing the impact of climate change on children and youth in Thailand. Under this project, we developed a child-sensitive climate risk map and developed policy recommendations to mitigate the risks and impacts of climate change on children and youth in Thailand.
Resource Sustainability and
Our mission is to maintain the sustainable utilisation of natural resources via a set of well-designed economic incentives and property rights assignments. On mitigation, the team investigates economic efficiency in mitigation as well as carbon sequestration.
“Our team culture is based on the synergy of efforts within the team members with an emphasis on togetherness. We see the importance of creating a cosy working environment as a means for work productivity. Our team strives to produce quality research that will contribute to society.”
Dr Adis Israngkura
Forest Bond is a financing mechanism which pools funding from citizens, corporations, and the stock market to regrow productive forests in areas which had been encroached. The party responsible for regrowing the forest will be a private entity with the capacity to grow and manage a large-scale productive forest. The income from the sales of timbers will then be paid as dividends to those that invest in the Forest Bond.
Marine and Coastal Resource Regeneration During COVID-19
The study shows a strong negative correlation between the number of tourists and the sighting of marine animals. That is, with the decline in the number of tourists, there has been an increase in marine animal sightings in all five study sites. This evidence indicates that if tourist activities can be controlled and well-managed, it can lead to healthier marine resources and sustainable marine resource management.
Integration of Natural Capital Accounting in Public and Private Sector Policy and Decision-making for Sustainable Landscapes
This ongoing project aims to facilitate the development of a Natural Capital accounting system in Thailand as a tool to measure the changes in the stock of natural capital at a variety of scales and integrate the value of ecosystem services into the national accounting and reporting systems. This will allow for the decision-making processes for both the public and private sectors to be made more sustainably as they consider the value of the environment.
Education Reform Policy
Driving human capital development through evidence-based education policies by reforming Thailand’s education system, ensuring people of all ages possess the skills to thrive and have the capability to create societal value in a rapidly changing world
“The Education Reform Policy team researchers come from various disciplines and backgrounds. This diversity brings a well-rounded perspective to our team and drives creative solutions. Our work culture emphasises collaboration, support, and open-mindedness. We are dedicated to delivering practical education policies and creating positive impact to the best of our abilities.”
Dr Somkiat Tangkitvanich
President and Research Director
Revamping the Thai Education System: Quality for All
To succeed in a rapidly evolving world, Thai children must cultivate 21st-century skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, collaboration, effective communication, and digital literacy. Unfortunately, Thailand’s current education system does not meet the standard of this changing world, mainly due to a lack of accountability in schools and universities. Our research suggests the system needs improvement in 5 key areas: core curriculum, student evaluation, teacher evaluation, school evaluation, and school financing.
Scaling-up Good Schools: Four Case Studies in The Thai Education System
PISA 2012 results revealed that some Thai schools, despite disadvantaged student backgrounds, achieved math scores above the national average. Scaling up successful practices from these schools nationwide can drive education reform in Thailand. Our results identify promising models, but implementation requires additional government and local support.
Redesigning the Education System Components in Education Reform Sandbox
This study, conducted in close collaboration with the Office of the Basic Education Commission (OBEC) and our partners, monitored and evaluated the performance of 3 schools in education sandboxes which are granted more autonomy to self-govern in 3 provinces: Sisaket, Rayong, and Satun. The results revealed some positive signs at both the school and student levels resulting in a new school funding formula, which will be applied to 2024’s budget.
Innovation Policy for Sustainable Development
Driving sustainable development through innovation policy by reforming the key elements of the innovation system: human capacity building, public resource allocation, and promoting a demand-driven approach
“Our team culture is founded on evidence-based research, growth mindset, teamwork spirit, integrity, and accountability. TDRI is a place where like-minded people who want to positively impact Thailand through public policy research can freely exchange ideas and work happily and passionately.”
Dr Saowaruj Rattanakhamfu
Vice President and Research Director
Restructuring the Science, Research and Innovation Ecosystem in Thailand
This study, conducted in close collaboration with the Office of National Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation Policy Council, investigated and recommended budget allocation and management strategies for promoting Thailand’s science, research, and innovation.
Plan for the Development of the Advertising, Architecture, Design, and Fashion Industries
We analysed the current state of these industries and identified key challenges and opportunities for their development in order to develop a comprehensive plan for Thailand’s Creative Economy Agency (CEA) to support their growth and international competitiveness. We proposed specific strategies and initiatives to encourage innovation, talent development, and market expansion, as well as recommendations for long-term growth in these industries.
Improving the Market for "Thai Innovation List" Products in Public Procurement
In collaboration with the National Bio, Circular, and Green (BCG) economy sub-committee on the medical device sector, our research team identified current challenges and barriers, as well as evaluated current policies and procedures in the government procurement market for “Thai Innovation List” products to increase their efficiency and effectiveness. We provided recommendations for improving the program’s effectiveness and promoting its growth through public procurement.
We are a new team aimed at analysing the economic and development impacts of Thailand’s foreign policies, and promoting the use of economic and development factors in the formulation of Thailand’s foreign policies.
“We are a small team that is being established. We will work with the economic research teams of TDRI and collaborate with TDRI’s Economic Intelligence Service (EIS) team, TDRI’s International Advisory Board (IAB) and outside experts.”
Dr Somkiat Tangkitvanich
President and Research Director
Geopolitical Risks of Thailand
This project will begin with a gathering of experts in Thailand to identify the 5 most important geopolitical risks in the country. This will set the agenda for research on Thailand’s geopolitical risk with an emphasis on the economic and developmental impacts of foreign policy, striving to encourage Thai foreign policy decision-makers to prioritise these considerations.
Analysis of Energy Security Risks in Thailand from Geopolitics
Thailand heavily relies on energy imports, with 17-20% of the country’s energy coming from Myanmar alone. As a result, the country has energy security risks from geopolitical factors and changes in neighbouring countries’ politics. This project aims to analyse such risks and suggest appropriate options for reducing them.
Conflict Between the US and China
The conflict between the United States and China has a high impact on global politics and the global economy, such as causing the shift of industrial production bases to ASEAN countries, including Thailand. This project will track the trend of this conflict and study the stance of Thailand’s foreign policy in order to make informed economic policy considerations.
International Economic and Development Policy
Enabling the local reach and global link of international trade for the inclusive, resilient and sustainable economic development of Thailand
“We are a team of open and cooperative minds with a strong commitment to positive analysis. We design policy measures and recommendations based on empirical evidence for the public’s best interests.”
Dr Wisarn Pupphavesa
Effects of the Thailand-European Union FTA and the Appropriate Negotiation Framework for Thailand
Assessing the possible positive and negative effects of the Thailand-EU FTA on the Thai economy and recommending appropriate policy measures for economic structural adjustment
Effects of the ASEAN+3 and ASEAN+6 FTAs and the Appropriate Negotiation Framework for Thailand
Assessing the possible positive and negative effects of each alternative ASEAN negotiation framework on the Thai economy and recommending the appropriate negotiation framework as well as policy measures for economic structural adjustment
Impact Assessment of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and exploring the Appropriate Negotiation Options for Thailand
Assessing the possible positive and negative effects of RCEP, including trade in goods and services, investment, trade facilitation, intellectual property rights, labour, environment, government procurement, e-commerce, competition policy etc. and recommending appropriate negotiation options as well as structural adjustment measures
Labour Market Analytics
Our main aim is to understand Thailand’s labour market using empirical analysis and recommend relevant policies and measures. We thrive through using data to inform our recommendations.
“Work hard, then play harder. Like what you do and do what you like.”
Dr Nuttanan Wichitaksorn
Visiting Research Advisor
Labour Market Condition Index
This project constructs an index, using an advanced econometric method, to gauge labour market conditions, especially the slack (the shortfall between the workers’ desired amount of work and the amount of paid work available) and tightness (a tight labour market is one in which demand for labour is at least as strong as supply).
A Portrait of High-income Thailand: Future Labour Market Outlook
We propose a framework for Thailand to escape the middle-income trap and achieve high-income status through labour market improvement.
Inclusive Development Policy
Our team is dedicated to improving the lives of Thai people, especially the disadvantaged, through policy research and advocacy. Our work ranges from inclusive economic development to key themes such as growth, poverty, inequality, and to social protection policies. We strongly adhere to the principle of ‘leaving no one behind.
“Open communication, mutual respect, academic ethics, and a sense of shared purpose comprise our working culture. Everyone is encouraged to share ideas, no matter how controversial they are. We pursue and utilise academic advancement in our work while making it suitable to the Thai context. The final outcome is not only research papers but also practical policies that we advocate for implementation in the real world.”
Dr Somchai Jitsuchon
Universal Child Support Grant
One of our impactful research projects is the study on the impact of child support grants in Thailand, which subsidises over two million poor Thai children. We are currently working closely with UNICEF and civil society to make the program universal so that no one child is left behind.
Lost Opportunities for Teenage Mothers and Thailand
Thailand is one of the countries with the highest rate of teenage pregnancy. This study examines the socio-economic background of teenage mothers and how teenage pregnancy would affect their future earnings given their circumstances, and, in the bigger picture, the opportunity cost teenage pregnancy has on Thailand. This paper tries to solve this issue by recommending policies to reduce teenage pregnancies and increase opportunities for current teenage mothers.
A Study on the Impacts of COVID-19 on Thai Society and Economy
In collaboration with the National Research Office (NRO), we assessed the impact COVID-19 has on Thai society and the economy. This study focuses on three key areas: health, economic, and social policy. We consolidated this knowledge and used them to formulate improved policies to handle future outbreaks.
Social Development Policy
Our work covers various social issues ranging from the rights and welfare of vulnerable groups, such as children and migrant workers, to gender inequality, and to social investment.
“Solving social development issues is like a marathon race. It may take a long time to reach the finishing line, but you will always be running together with the people who share the same goal.”
Dr Boonwara Sumano
Senior Research Fellow
ASEAN Declaration on Portability of Social Security Benefits for Migrant Workers in ASEAN
Gender-sensitive labour inspection manual
Labour inspection is a mechanism to ensure labour protection. We revised the manual for labour inspectors to be able to identify gender-sensitive issues at workplaces.
Social Impact Bond for early childhood development
This is the first-ever pay-for-success model in Thailand supported by the Equitable Education Fund (EEF). In this upcoming project, our team will take the role of monitoring and evaluating the pay-for-success model.
Law for Development
The law and development team explores the relationship between law, society and economic progress, particularly within the context of Thailand. We specialise in law and development, where we explore topics including but not limited to regulatory impact assessment, personal data protection and competition law.
“As Ginsburg put it, ‘The law is not just a set of rules; it is a reflection of the values and aspirations of a society.’ Working with this team is fulfilling because we get to conduct legal research that expands our understanding and collaborate with diverse, yet like-minded, individuals who are equally passionate and dedicated. Nevertheless, we balance hard work with opportunities to recharge and indulge in delicious cuisine during breaks.”
Dr Jakkrit Kuanpoth
Personal Data Protection Law
Our team contributed to drafting personal data protection law guidelines by interviewing stakeholders and company representatives from seven industries and conducting public hearings from stakeholders to gather opinions.
Access to Justice and the Justice System
A study of the issues related to the justice process and costs of criminal justice, conducted by evaluating court fees, justice funds and legal aid.
A group of young legal researchers with a strong passion to strive for in-depth research analysis. Our main focus is on laws and regulations reform using Law and Economics methods to promote cost reduction, increased efficiency, and legal compliance, in line with current socio-economic contexts.
“TDRI is a place where new ideas are generated by breaking old thinking patterns, making connections and gaining fresh perspectives that apply the economic concepts and methods to legal research. We emphasise a learning culture that values knowledge sharing, constructive conversation, and feedback through a flexible work environment.”
Dr Kiratipong Naewmalee
Senior Research Fellow
We have provided comprehensive advice and worked along with several Thai governmental authorities in reviewing and reforming many old laws and regulations for each authority. Some of our past working partners include the Office of the Trade and Competition Commission of Thailand, the Security and Exchange Commission of Thailand and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.
We have assisted the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises of Thailand and the Asia Foundation in reviewing the current Thai legal regimes and identifying the legal problems that obstruct Start-Up businesses in Thailand. We have also provided advice on how to develop better laws and regulations to effectively promote Start-Ups.
Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA)
A research project on the enactment of Thailand’s personal data protection guidelines for Data Controllers and Data Processors under the Personal Data Protection Act 2019 for the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society of Thailand (MDES)
We are a small team of programmers that uses AI and big data to increase the productivity of TDRI’s policy research and to enhance the productivity of Thailand’s economy and development.
“We are proud to have helped our fellow researchers in various teams in analyzing data that is useful in policy-making.”
Analysis of Online Job Postings
It is often said that Thailand lacks workers due to a sustained low birth rate. However, in reality, many university and educational institution graduates struggle to find well-paid work and employers often complain that these new graduates do not possess the skills required. This project aims to address this problem by collecting data from over 10 job websites and analysing the trend of skills required by employers using machine learning and natural language processing. This will help universities and educational institutions to adjust their curriculum and teaching methods to meet the market demand.
Using AI to Analyse ESG Reports of Publicly Listed Companies
Companies registered in the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) must submit their annual ESG report to show their business conducts related to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors. TDRI has so far used researchers to read and analyse these ESG reports, which is a labour-intensive process. This project aims to use AI to assist our researchers in analysing ESG reports to save time and effort.
Productivity Improvement by Using Generative AI
Generative AI, as demonstrated by ChatGPT, is a technological innovation in AI that has great potential for increasing the productivity of knowledge workers. This project will explore the use of ChatGPT to enhance the productivity of TDRI’s policy research. Furthermore, we will analyse the potential of the technology to enhance the capabilities of Thai people to work at the international level.
Macroeconomic Policy and Applied Economics
The Macroeconomic Policy and Applied Economics Team is dedicated to shaping economic and social policies that promote sustainable and inclusive development in Thailand.
“Our team motto is ‘low profile, high social benefit’ which indicates a friendly and flexible working environment where we can work efficiently, allowing us to effectively serve public interest.”
Dr Nonarit Bisonyabut
Senior Research Fellow
Enhancing Efficiency and Competitiveness of the Thai Capital Market
This research project studies the factors affecting Thailand’s capital market and measures to take to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of Thailand’s capital market. This includes building a model measuring the effects of cost and tax on the efficiency of the capital market and on real economic indicators.
A Study on the Trade Potential of Thailand-Laos Border Checkpoints
The objective of this study is to employ economic methods to evaluate and rank Thailand-Laos Border checkpoints, comparing their trade volume and international investment potentials.
Promoting the Recruitment of People with Disabilities
This research paper aims to improve and support the hiring process of people with disabilities by providing necessary recruitment information for social service providers, creating clarity, fairness and sustainability in the hiring process.