The Townsend Thai Project


In this Photo:

In Bangkok, dried fish at the market. Photo by Martha de Jong-Lantink.


Upon beginning the Townsend Thai project, the Principal Investigator, Dr. Robert M. Townsend, sought to understand what risks households in a typical village face. In particular, he wanted to examine if adverse events, or shocks, that households experience were aggregate or idiosyncratic. This led to the creation of what was originally intended to be one large survey of rural Thailand in 1997, but has continued up until the present time.

The initial plan was to evaluate villages in similar environments with and without formal institutions by using a combination of annual household, institutional, and key informant surveys. In August 1998, the project incorporated an extremely detailed monthly survey to gather data, in combination with other environmental data. This ongoing data collection project, the Townsend Thai data, has been generously supported over the past by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Ford Foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC), the Thai Ministry of Finance, the Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Co-operatives (BAAC), the National Opinion Research Center (NORC), and the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

For a more detailed history of the Townsend Thai project, please see the Project Overview.