This paper reviews the evolution of small and medium firms in Thailand in recent years. It shows that such firms did not preserve their share of total employment during the period 1987–96; indeed, their share fell from 60% to 52% over this period. Much of this decline was felt in the category of very small firms (with less than 10 workers). This aspect is explored further by looking at small firm employment shares in three sub-periods of varying overall economic growth rates. It is found that when overall economic growth is high, the share of small firms tends to contract possibly because many small firms become medium in size and others disband because their owners can find more remunerative employment in larger firms. In slower growth periods, the employment share of small firms appears to rise probably because larger firms may be taking in less new workers or even laying off workers. The paper also calculates productivity measures (technical efficiency and total factor productivity) and shows that different measures give different rankings by size of firm.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Acs, Z. J., 1996, ‘Small Firms and Economic Growth’ in P. H. Admiraal (ed.), Small Business in the Modern Economy, Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.
Advanced Group Research, 1997, ‘Small-and Medium-Sized Industries in Thailand ’ Report. Ministry of Industry, Bangkok [in Thai].
Akrasanee, N., V. Avilasakul and T. Chudasring, 1986, ‘Financial Factors Relating to Small-and Medium Business Improvement in Thailand’ in K. James and N. Akrasanee (eds.), Small-and Medium Business Improvement in the ASEAN Region: Financial Factors, Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.
Bank of Thailand, Monthly Bulletin, various issues.
Berry, A. and D. Mazumdar, 1991, ‘Small-Scale Industry in the Asian-Pacific Region’ Asian Pacific Economic Literature 5(2), 35-67.
Chiemprapha, C., 1993, ‘The Development of TCC and Regional Chambers in Thailand with Particular Reference to the SMEs Supporting Activities’ paper prepared for ZDH-Technonet Asia Project Review Conference, Singapore.
Cortes, M., A. Berry and A. Ishag, 1987, Success In Small-and Medium-Scale Enterprises, New York: Oxford University Press.
De Silva, Migara, 1998, ‘SME Experience in East Asia: Cases of Japan, Republic of Korea and Taiwan’ paper presented at the First Workshop on the Role of SMEs in Economic Development, San Francisco, CA.
Ho, S., 1980, ‘Small-Scale Enterprises in Korea and Taiwan’ Staff Working Paper 384. World Bank, Washington DC.
ILO, 1993, ‘Development of Provincial Small-and Medium-Sized Enterprises: Thailand’ Report, International Labor Office, Bangkok.
Kittiprapas, S. and P. McCann, 1999, ‘Industrial Location Behavior and Regional Restructuring Within the Fifth Tiger Economy: Evidence from the Thai Electronics Industry’ Applied Economics 31(1), 35-49.
Levy, B., 1994, ‘Technical and Marketing Support Systems for Successful Small-and Medium-Sized Enterprises in four Countries’ Policy Research Working Paper 1400. World Bank, Washington, DC.
Liedholm, C. and D. C. Mead, 1987, ‘Small Scale Industries in Developing Countries: Empirical Evidence and Policy Implications’ MSU International Development Paper 9. Michigan State University, East Lansing.
Little, I. M. D., D. Mazumdar and J. M. Page, 1987, Small Manufacturing Enterprises: A Comparative Analysis of India and Other Economies, New York: Oxford University Press.
Mead D. C. and C. Liedholm, 1998, ‘The Dynamics of Micro and Small Enterprises in Developing Countries’ World Development. 26(1), 61-74.
Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare, Yearbook of Labor Statistics, various issues.
Muller, E., 1993, ‘The Development of FTI and Regional FTI Clubs in Thailand with Particular Reference to SMEs’ Paper presented at ZDH-Technonet Asia Project Review Conference, Singapore.
NSO, 1999, Report of the 1997 Industrial Census, Whole Kingdom, Bangkok, National Statistical Office.
Richmond, J., 1974, ‘Estimating the Efficiency of Production’ International Economic Review 15(2), 515-521.
Sanguanruang S., S. Tambunlertchai and N. Sammapan, 1977, Study of Small-and Medium Scale Industries in Thailand, Bangkok: National Institute of Development Administration and Thammasat University [in Thai].
Tambunlertchai, S., W. Charmonman, S. Thitasajja and S. Thammavitikul, 1986, Small-and Medium-Scale Industries in Thailand and Subcontracting Arrangements, Tokyo: Institute of Developing Economies.
TDRI, 1990, Rural Industry and Employment Project, Bangkok: Thailand Development Research Institute.
UNICO International Corporation, 1995, ‘Supporting Industries in Thailand’ Report submitted to Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Ministry of Industry, Bangkok.
Wiboonchutikula, P., 1989, ‘Technology Transfer in Small-and Medium-Scale Industries’ paper prepared for ESCAP, Bangkok.
Wiboonchutikula, P., 1990, Household Demand for Goods Produced by Rural Industry, Bangkok: Thailand Development Research Institute.
Wiboonchutikula, P., 1993, ‘Developing a Technology-Intensive Industry in Thailand: Computers and Their Peripherals’ Chulalongkorn Journal of Economics 5(2), 183-217.
Wiboonchutikula, P., R. Chintayarangsan and N. Thongpakde, 1989, ‘Trade in Manufactured Goods and Mineral Products’ Background Paper 4. The 1989 TDRI Year-End Conference, Thailand Development Research Institute, Bangkok.
About this article
Cite this article
Wiboonchutikula, P. Small and Medium Enterprises in Thailand: Recent Trends. Small Business Economics 18, 211–224 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1015143709196
- Economic Growth
- Slow Growth
- Growth Period
- Technical Efficiency
- Small Firm