Completing the Picture: Thai Enterprise Panel Survey (TEPS)

The Consortium on Financial Systems and Poverty seeks to create a better understanding of how financial systems function and what changes must occur in order for these systems to better work for the world's poor. This research project seeks to fill a missing research gap between information that is currently available and the data that are needed: comprehensive panel data on small, medium, and large firms. These data are rare in the developing world.

Household and SMEs have long been a cornerstone of the Thai economy. Increasing the efficiency of the financial system would help further fuel their growth appropriately. Studies have indicated that many household businesses are highly productive but suffer from inadequate financing. Others have low marginal products of capital, yet remain in business. Larger banks seem to concentrate on large firms and corporations, with few locations and products catered toward households and SMEs. The goal of this particular survey is to provide a more complete picture of household and enterprise financing and saving so improvements can be made to mobilize and intermediate savings more efficiently.

In December 2009, the Research Institute for Policy Evaluation and Design (RIPED) at the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) launched the Thai Enterprise Panel Survey (TEPS), a household panel survey designed to capture households operating firms and those that might seek to start businesses. These kinds of data are relatively rare across the developing world but comprise an integral piece of the financial system and how it operates. This is especially important in understanding national level flow of funds and the role households and smaller businesses play, since most available flow of funds accounts (FFAs) do not account for flows into and out of the informal financial sector, which is indispensable in developing countries. This project continues and enhances TEPS by supporting one year of quarterly surveys with households, across six provinces, and supports a more in-depth snowball survey. TEPS will create a more complete picture of the financial system in Thailand, play an important role in enhancing flow of fund accounting, and enhance the understanding of the role payment systems play.

Research Questions: 
  • Are formal financial channels important for mobilizing saving across households, including those of low wealth? Are savings being used in a manner that produces a higher return? Are savings invested in businesses or farm enterprises?
  • How well-connected are the financial markets that link households, firms, governments and the global economy? Do low wealth households save? Do they interact with financial systems and how are they affected by them? How do they engage in these activities?
  • What kind of payment and transaction technologies do family-run firms use in their businesses? Would low-cost electronic transfer technology help households gain entry to larger payments and financial systems?
  • What are the key factors that determine firm-level productivity? Do households face obstacles preventing them from running a business or expanding it?  If so, which policy should be used to remedy these obstacles?
  • Are informal insurance mechanisms, e.g., gifts assistance from relatives, and trade credits from suppliers sufficient for insuring business households against business-related shocks? Ultimately, would a policy that tries to replace these informal channels with formal ones help or hurt households?

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Data Notes: 

Survey Time Frame and Rounds:

  • Baseline: December 2010
  • Quarterly Resurveys: May 2011 - November 2012

Modules:

  • Household composition: basic information about each member and also close relatives
  • Occupation and Training
  • Businesses: establishment process, shareholders, workers, suppliers, trade credits, and computer technology uses
  • Assets: financial and nonfinancial assets and their fractions used
  • Borrowing and Lending
  • Saving: savings accounts and saving channels that each member uses and the flow into and out of each account
  • Gifts, Helps, and Assistance
  • Expenditures: a household's standard expenditures

Survey size: 1,967 urban households and 6,644 household members

Sample: Households are located in 6 provinces across Thailand: Lopburi, Chacheongsao, Buriram, Sisaket, Phrae, and Satun

Partners: 
University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC)
Research Institute for Policy Evaluation and Design (RIPED)
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC)
Status: 
Completed