|Dr. Patima Chongcharoentanawat
Beyond A Snapshot Inequality: Economic Mobility and Policy Evaluation
Franziska Gassmann & Pierre Mohnen
Upward economic mobility, a movement to a higher socioeconomic status, is a policy objective in its own right. It indicates the extent to which opportunity exists in society. The impediment to mobility must be tackled in order to ensure that the equal opportunity to succeed remains achievable for all walks of life. The purpose of this thesis is to understand economic mobility in the context of a developing economy and the role that social protection programs have played in promoting mobility. It does so by examining the extent and pattern of intragenerational income mobility, and by identifying factors driving mobility based on longitudinal data from Thailand. The study establishes causality linking participation in certain social protection programs which, in theory, have the potential to overcome mobility constraints including vocational training, microcredit and social pension, and changes in mobility outcomes by means of various impact evaluation methods. The results suggest that only the social pension program is found to impact beneficiaries along the outcome dimensions considered. The vocational training and the microcredit program do not play a role in fostering mobility. The thesis concludes that only having social protection programs in place does not necessarily remove binding constraints to upward mobility. Program design and details of implementation matter.