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Welcome to Thai Data Points

posted Oct 19, 2009, 10:41 PM by Joel Selway   [ updated Oct 21, 2014, 4:05 AM by Allen Hicken ]
We are excited to launch this blog, Thai Data Points, in which our goal is to close the gap between academic research and the public with regards to Thai politics. We have both been studying and writing on Thai politics for several years (Allen is a few years ahead of me, Joel) and we have a deep love for the country and its people. We understand that opinions on politics can differ sharply; people come from a variety of economic, cultural, religious, and educational (etc., etc.) backgrounds. Our goal as political scientists is not to insert our own subjective opinions on Thai politics, but rather to let the data speak for itself, hence the name of the blog. This blog will draw on a variety of research methods and the latest theories in political science and related disciplines in an effort to add to the understanding of Thai politics.

We plan to feature two types of work in this blog. First, work from and about Thailand. Our goal is to better publicize
some of the outstanding work being done by contemporary social scientists about Thai politics and public policy. Second, work from outside of Thailand that relates to current issues and debates in Thailand. Thailand is not the first country in the world to tackle the thorny project of institutional reform, or to struggle with the task of upgrading education, for example.  Our goal is to bring work on these topics from outside the Thai sphere into the conversation, bearing in mind the peculiarities of the Thai context.

For example, we might write a post about a particular suggestion for the Thai constitution, say whether to have decentralization or not. Rather than support our claim with philosophical or moral rhetoric, however, we will ask two questions:
1. what have political scientists found about decentralization more generally?
2. is there any data that might help us apply these findings more specifically to Thailand?

This blog is political, in that we tackle current political and policy topics. Some of these topics are controversial, with sharp differences of opinions. The mantra of this blog is, "What do the data say?" The answer to that question will sometimes confirm and sometimes challenge existing beliefs and biases, including our own. In short, we expect that there will be something here to annoy just about everyone, regardless of your political position.

Please see the "Our Goals" tab for information on our aims with this blog. We encourage readers to let us know about interesting work that we could profile here.
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