Chronicles from the Field: The Townsend Thai Project

MIT Press

Rob Jordan, Sombat Sakunthasathien, Robert M. Townsend
April 2013
Chronicles from the Field: The Townsend Thai Project
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Running since 1997, the Townsend Thai Project has tracked millions of observations about the economic activities of households and institutions in Thailand. The authors offer an account of the design and implementation of the survey and tell the story not only of the origins and operations of the project but also of the challenges and rewards that come from a search to understand the process of a country's economic development.The book explains the technical details of data collection and survey instruments but emphasizes the human side of the project. It is supplemented with an epilogue on research findings and an appendix that contains a list and abstracts of papers using data from the project. Social and economic policies are too often skewed by political considerations. The Townsend Thai Project offers another basis for policy: accurate measurement based on thoroughly collected data. From this a clear template emerges for understanding poverty and alleviating it.