A shrinking state? Politics, economics and private health care in Thailand

Sara Bennett, Viroj Tangcharoensathien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This article explores the political and economic forces involved in the development of privatization policies within the health care sector in Thailand. It is suggested that many of the motivating factors behind private sector growth are outside of the health sector; the general macroeconomic environment and tax incentives have stimulated private sector expansion. Within the Ministry of Public Health a preoccupation with improving care in rural areas and an unclear policy line on the private sector has facilitated this expansion. Only recently has private sector growth come to the policy agenda. During this lag period a number of interest groups have developed. It will be difficult to overcome these entrenched interests in order to change policy direction. Meanwhile, problems of rapid cost inflation and inequity face the Thai health care system. Although this case study focuses upon the health care sector in Thailand it would appear relevant both to other sectors and to other countries. The relationship between development models based upon pro‐private, pro‐market tenets and the establishment of a satisfactory social policy is questioned.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalPublic Administration and Development
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Public Administration


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