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Abstract

This paper describes how Thai investments in schooling compare with cross-country experience in 1965 and 1987, and for the changes between these years. The right-side variables in the regressions that are used to characterize the cross-country experience are nonlinear functions in income and the adult male and female literacy rates (which can be given an interpretation of representing inversely the relative price of school staff). The regressions for 1965 suggest that Thailand had relatively low school enrollment rates and expected years of schooling for a synthetic cohort if the adult literacy rates are included in addition to income because it had relatively high stocks of literate adults and therefore what we interpret as low prices of skilled labor to staff schools. If only income (and not adult literacy rates) is controlled, however, Thailand had relatively high primary and secondary (though not tertiary) enrollment rates and expected years of schooling. The primary enrollment rates and therefore the expected years of schooling were relatively high for females, so the gender gap was relatively small. The regressions for 1987 suggest that Thailand was below the cross-country primary and secondary enrollment and expected years of schooling experience, though above for tertiary enrollments. With regard to the changes between 1965 and 1987, Thailand was above the cross-country experience for primary and (especially) tertiary enrollment rates, but below the cross-country experience for secondary enrollments and expected years of school. Thus, in comparison with the cross-country experience in these two decades, Thailand had small total increases in schooling investment and a shift towards tertiary and away from secondary investments.

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