The Townsend Thai Project

Monthly Surveys

In this Photo:

Fishermen off Koh-Chang, Thailand's second largest island. Photo by Chjab.


In accordance with the initial project design, an intensive Monthly Survey was initiated in August l998 in a subset of villages from the original sampling frame. In total there are 16 villages, four villages in each of the four original changwats. Specifically, one tambon per changwat was chosen from the 12 possibilities of the initial 1997 cross-section. That tambon displayed relatively little variation in the collected environmental variables across the four villages, thus allowing for the control, in a sense, of the environmental variation across villages and for the relatively large variation across the four villages in the collected economic institutional variables: informal networks, local village institutions, and/or use of national level institutions. Again, this selection was consistent with a primary goal of the overall project: a micro-level evaluation of family networks, markets, and formal institutions in credit and insurance. As the selected tambon in each changwat was also surveyed in the initial 1997 cross section, 15 of the households in each of the four villages had been interviewed previously, and soil samples taken. A target of 30 additional households was added so that the total would be 45 per village. Thus the overall target is 720 households.

This monthly survey began as an initial village-wide census. Each structure and household was enumerated, and one individual per residential structure was interviewed concerning individuals who sleep or eat in that structure. This means that all individuals, households, and residential structures in each of the 16 villages can be identified in subsequent, monthly responses.

The monthly survey itself began in August 1998 with a baseline interview on initial conditions of sampled households. These answers trigger further questions or forms which gather more specific information on the use of contracts and informal institutions, for example. Rosters provide an enumeration or list of items to be tracked in subsequent monthly interviews, and the monthly interviews themselves track inputs, outputs, and changing conditions. As the activities of a household may change, new forms are occasionally administered.

Collection & Processing Notes

Monthly Household Panel:
Each of the four-village clusters is assigned to a local team consisting of 12 enumerators, one field supervisor, one field editor, and one soil/environmental person. Much of the team consists of individuals hired from the local area, and they commute to work each day. The rest of the team, including those from the Bangkok office, reside in the local office. All interviewers speak the language of the households to which they are assigned - Thai, Lao, Khmer, or Sui. Common meals are eaten at the district office, and the first round of data entry takes place there. There are both periodic and random visits from the Bangkok staff, including the project director. Questionnaires, data disks, and environmental samples and measurements are sent to Bangkok, and about 10% of recently completed interviews are double-checked with random re-interviews of the surveyed households.

Data are double blind entered into an ACCESS database that has dual Thai and English language capabilities. The enumerators themselves enter the data of another enumerator. All data entry is supervised and checked by the field supervisor and team leader. In Bangkok data entry takes place on ten PCs connected to a LAN system, with a separate data entry staff. Thai language answers are entered, translated into English, and then entered into a separate database.

A team of enumerators, in cooperation with the headman and local officials, sketch a map of the village and its structures. Then individual enumerators visit each structure to identify its use. For residential structures, the census is administered to the head or head's spouse. Answers are cross checked by the team leader and field supervisor in the field, with re-interviews and clarifications when necessary. Data are entered into an ACCESS database at the local office of the project and then reentered in Bangkok. The original Thai script is entered, and English translations are done afterward. Double blind entry and subsequent checks for inconsistency remove virtually all data entry errors.


Monthly Survey Files (click to download .zip file)

Data Summaries

"Townsend Thai Monthly Rural Survey: Household Financial Accounting Data Summaries," Robert M. Townsend and Suparit Suwanik (2016).

"The Summary of The Monthly Household Survey of Thailand on Labor Issues," Robert M. Townsend and Hiroyuki Yamada (2007).

"Appreciation of Land Values in Rural Economies of Thailand," Narapong Srivisal (2010).

"Instruments and Data Comparability: A Progress Report," Suchanan Tambunlertchai (2009).

Related Publications

"Heterogeneity and Risk-Sharing in Thai Villages." Pierre-Andre Chiappori, Krislert Samphantharak, Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, and Robert M. Townsend. Quantitative Economics, Forthcoming 2014.

"Village Economic Accounts: Real and Financial Intertwined" Archawa Paweenawat and Robert M. Townsend. American Economic Review 102(3): 441-46.

"Kinship and Financial Networks, Formal Financial Access and Risk Reduction." Cynthia Kinnan and Robert M. Townsend. American Economic Review 102(3): 289-93.

"Measuring the Return on Household Enterprise: What Matters Most for Whom?" Krislert Samphantharak and Robert M. Townsend. Journal of Development Economics 98(1), 2012: 58-70.

"The Impact of Credit on Village Economies." Joseph P. Kaboski and Robert M. Townsend. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 4(2), April 2012: 98-133.

"A Structural Evaluation of a Large-Scale Quasi-Experimental Microfinance Initiative." Joseph Kaboski and Robert M. Townsend. Econometrica 79(5), September 2011: 1357-1406.

"Wealth Accumulation and Factors Accounting for Success." Anan Pawasutipaisit and Robert M. Townsend. Journal of Econometrics 161(1), March 2011: 58-81.

"Households as Corporate Firms: An Analysis of Household Finance Using Integrated Household Surveys and Corporate Financial Accounting." Robert M. Townsend and Krislert Samphantharak. Econometric Society Monograph Series No. 46, December 2009.

"Impact of Climate Change on Rice Production in Thailand." John Felkner, Kamilya Tazhibayeva, and Robert Townsend. American Economic Review 99(2), May 2009: 1-10.

"Dynamic Financial Constraints: Distinguishing Mechanism Design from Exogenously Incomplete Regimes." Alexandar Karaivanov and Robert Townsend. Working Paper.